New Trend Magazine ( (410-435-5000)

Palestinian Deported after 18 Years stay in U.S.: Wife, 3 children not told
Hanooti: Albany Imam Intensely Loyal to U.S. Charged with Hamas Funding!

Our representative has just returned from a two-day visit to Albany, New York. Albany's Muslims are very peaceful people and have never created waves about U.S. governmental policies. The main mosque had an Algerian imam for years who severely curbed all political discussion and stopped the distribution of politically related Islamic literature at the mosque (including New Trend). He is a regular fixture at ICNA conferences.

The Algerian imam was not being paid well, only a measly $50,000 for leading juma salat and an Islamic service every week. He left for a better position and was, after an extended period of time, replaced by Shaikh Mohammad al-Hanooti who used to be at a staunchly pro-government mosque in Virginia called Dar al-Hijra. Before we relate the story of Al-Hanooti, let us trace the outlines of the tragedy of Ali Yaghi, a 34-year old Palestinian who had a pizza store in Albany.

The following are the facts of Ali Yaghi's tragedy as gleaned from people in Albany and from a front page report in the TIMES UNION newpaper of July 21 published from Albany.

1. Ali Yaghi came to the United States when he was 16.
2. In 1993, he married an Afghan woman named Shokriea and they had three children, Zeyad, now 8, Ismaeel, 6, and Mohammed, 5.
3. On October 3, 2001 Ali was arrested after some informant called police to say that he was standing outside the pizza store at the time of the 9/11 attacks allegedly expressing signs of victory.
4. The FBI grilled him for several months and finally cleared him of ANY terrorist connections.
5. Altogether, he was kept in prison for 9 months. Of these, SIX months were in a Brooklyn prison where the authorities painted over the windows to deny him a view of the sky and kept him in the cell for 23 of every 24 hours.
6. The FBI handed him over to the immigration authorities who decided to deport him in spite of his having been cleared of association with terrorists.
7. His immigration status was not clear because he had applied for political asylum years back.
He was deported to Jordan on June 24 with no money and his old Jordanian passport in his hand.
8. His wife did not know till July 8 that he had been deported. She as expecting a hearing on August 1 and got his prison belongings back on July 8 with a note saying that he had been "transferred."
9. Ali's wife, Shokriea, is very loyal to the U.S. and is a citizen of the U.S. Her older brother and father were killed in the period of anarchy in Afghanistan before the rise of the Taliban. Female members of her family were raped. [Readers should remember that the Taliban emerged to put an end to the anarchy and stopped violence against women by application of death sentences for rape.]
10. Shokriea is trying to get her husband back but faces a difficult task because the U.S. forced Ali to sign papers saying he would never try to return. Thus the 18 year stay of a Palestinian in America the beautiful was terminated.
NOW BACK TO THE STORY OF SHAIKH HANOOTI. There is an element of irony in Hanooti's story because of his intense loyalty to America. Somehow, based on some rumor, or tale carrying by someone, the government came to believe that Hanooti had RAISED SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS and sent them to Hamas.
To make it worse, a newspaperman in Albany believed the story and wrote it up in his paper. From there it got on the TV screens.

The Board members of the mosque got very worried and wanted to get rid of Hanooti. However, the community rallied around Hanooti and owing to the efforts of people like Br. Sayeed, a big advertisement was placed in the local paper refuting the allegations against Hanooti.
The entire story was bogus: Shaikh Hanooti never raised or helped raise $7 million and there is absolutely no indication that he had any financial links or arrangements with Hamas.

Shaikh Al-Hanooti is a learned scholar and his religious views are read with great respect by the entire spectrum of well-to-do immigrant Muslims from coast to coast. Muslims are disturbed and unnerved by the attempts to link the Shaikh ro Hamas.

To the contrary, Shaikh Hanooti has been so loyal to the U.S. that he joined Taha Jabir al-Alawani to support Muslims fighting for the U.S. government in the "war against terrorism." To this effect, Alawani and Hanooti, who are president and member respectively of a body called Fiqh Council of North America, issued a FATWA urging American Muslims to serve in the U.S. army and "combat terrorism." The FATWA's key point reads as follows:

"All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason. The Muslim soldier must perform his duty in this fight despite the feeling of uneasiness of 'fighting without discriminating.' His intention must be to fight for enjoining of the truth and defeating falsehood. It's to prevent aggression on the innocents, or to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice."

The FATWA was sought by Chaplain Abdul-Rashid Muhammad, the most senior Muslim chaplain in the U.S. military. The Chaplain is "helping some Muslim American servicemen deal with their qualms about fighting terrorists who claim to represent Islam."
[This Fatwa and the entire information we have quoted was so valuable to the State Department that it is available on its site:]

COMMENTARY: Muslims wonder why these pressures on Muslims, like Shaikh Hanooti, who have always been pro-government? TAHA ALWANI gave a Fatwa supporting the Muslims voting for Bush. His house was raided earlier this year and his computer taken away.
There are several theories about this.
1. The U.S. sees pro-government, rich, established Muslims as a cover for "sleeper cells" planning to attack America. It can't believe that there can be Muslims dishonorable enough to prefer their comfortable lives to the risk entailed by supporting the worldwide Muslim agitation against America.
2. Jews like Emerson and Pipes wanted the Alwani-Hanooti grouping to be replaced by totally subservient types like the Sufis. They are resposible for instigating the authorities against loyal American Muslims.
3. The pressures on loyal Muslims who are not even dissenters are a well-thought-out measure meant to speed up integration of immigrant Muslims. The U.S. senses that Alawani-Hanooti types have no backbone at all and if pressured will bend over backwards to prove their loyalty and will help to integrate the entire mosque communities under their and their friends' control and/or influence.

2002-07-25 Thu 18:36ct