Lodi Muslim Cleric Hate


Calif. father, son held in al-Qaida investigation

Affidavit says son confessed to terrorist training in Pakistan

MSNBC staff and news service reports

Updated: 8:47 p.m. ET June 8, 2005


SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A terrorism investigation in this quiet farming town has led to the arrests of a father and son who said he trained at an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan for potential attacks on U.S. hospitals and supermarkets, authorities said.


Federal investigators believe a number of people committed to al-Qaida have been operating in and around Lodi, a wine-growing region about 30 miles south of Sacramento, FBI Agent Keith Slotter said Wednesday. He would not elaborate.


Slotter added that investigators did not have information about any specific plans for an attack, and the father and son were charged only with lying to federal agents about the son’s training at the al-Qaida camp. Two local Muslim leaders also have been arrested on immigration violations.


The son, Hamid Hayat, was interviewed by the FBI on Friday and at first denied any link to terrorist camps. But the next day he was given a polygraph test and admitted he attended the camp in 2003 and 2004, according to an affidavit by FBI Agent Pedro Aguilar. The Sacramento Bee reported his age as 22; the Los Angeles Times said he is 23.


President’s face on targets
Hayat said photos of President Bush and other American political figures were pasted onto targets during weapons training, the affidavit said. At the end of training, participants were given the opportunity to choose the nation where their attacks would be carried out.


“Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission,” according to an affidavit released through the Justice Department in Washington. “Potential targets for attack included hospitals and large food stores.”


The father, Umer Hayat, lied about his son’s involvement and money he sent for the son’s training, the affidavit said.


A cousin of the younger Hayat, Usama Ismail, said he was in Pakistan with his relative and that Hayat never had terrorist training. He said his cousin went to Pakistan to marry and “never got into politics. All he talked about was cricket.”


“We were always together,” said Ismail, who lives down the street from the Hayats in a modest, blue-collar neighborhood. “He never went anywhere. He was always in the village.”


The father’s attorney, Johnny Griffin III, who called the allegations “shocking,” stressed that his client “is charged with nothing more than lying to an agent.” Neighbors described the elder Hayat as a nice man who sold ice cream during summer months from a van.

The younger Hayat’s attorney was not in court; a message left with the lawyer was not immediately returned.

In Washington, President Bush said he had been briefed on the matter.


“I was very impressed by the use of intelligence and the follow-up,” Bush said. “And that’s what the Americans need to know, that when we find any hint about any possible wrongdoing or a possible cell, that we’ll follow up — by the way, honoring the civil liberties of those to whom we follow up.”


Two others held
One law enforcement official told the Times that "these guys have been on the radar for awhile," adding that "this case has more to it than just these two guys."


In fact, two other men, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Adil Khan, were being held on immigration violations after meeting separately with Umer Hayat on Saturday, the Bee reported. All four men live in Lodi, about 35 miles south of Sacramento.


Umer Hayat wore a concealed FBI listening device for the meetings, one source told the Bee, an account confirmed by some of his relatives.


Khan is an imam at the Lodi mosque, and Ahmed is a religious leader affiliated with an Islamic center in Sacramento, the Bee and Times reported.


Camp allegedly run by family friend
Umer Hayat was charged in the complaint with lying about his son’s involvement and his own financing of the terrorist camp, which the affidavit said was run by a close friend of Umer Hayat's father.


A female cousin of Hamid Hayat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Times that "the charges are totally false."


U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Nowinski denied a bail request for the elder Hayat, saying he was “a flight risk and a danger to the community.”


“He just returned from Pakistan where he built a new home and contributed financial assistance to an al-Qaida-sponsored program training his son and others to kill Americans whenever and wherever they can be found,” the Bee quoted Nowinski as saying.

Hamid Hayat’s attorney was not present for the court hearing, and Nowinski set a bail hearing for him on Friday.


Son on 'no fly' list
Hamid Hayat's name was on the U.S. “no fly” list of suspected extremists, the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee reported, and on returning from Pakistan on May 29 his flight was diverted to Japan, where he was questioned. He was allowed to continue on, and was then questioned in Sacramento by FBI agents.


The affidavit says Umer Hayat gave up denying that he knew of the terrorist training when he was shown a videotape of his son's confession.


FBI agents raided the Hayat home on Tuesday, family members told the Times. They seized videocassettes, photographs, fax machines, prayer books and other items.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Lodi Islamic leader, son to be deported

They admit overstaying their visas. Misrepresentation allegations dropped.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – An Islamic religious leader held on immigration charges as part of an investigation into terrorist activity in the agricultural community of Lodi agreed Friday to be deported to Pakistan along with his son.
Muhammed Adil Khan, 47, and his 19-year-old son, Mohammad Hassan Adil, admitted overstaying their visas. In exchange, immigration authorities at a hearing in an immigration court dropped other allegations that the two misrepresented themselves to obtain religious visas.

The two were among five Lodi men connected to a Lodi mosque arrested last month as part of a federal terrorism probe. Lodi is a community of about 62,000 nearly 80 miles east of San Francisco with a large Muslim population.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement lawyer Paul Nischiie declined comment after the hearing Friday. But at a hearing last month, Nischiie said Khan once had close ties to Taliban officials, a charge his lawyer, Saad Ahmad, denied outside court Friday.

Ahmad also represented Khan's son, who was allowed in the United States because of his father's status as a religious worker.

"If my clients were terrorists, or connected to terrorists, they would not be allowed to leave the country voluntarily," Ahmad said.

Ronald Le Fevre, chief counsel of the Department of Homeland Security's San Francisco immigration office, said in a statement that the two were being deported "to remove any potential threat to the community" and that his office "will not allow foreign nationals to use the United States as a haven for activities that potentially put our nation or other nations at risk."

The two will remain in custody until immigration officials can arrange their journey to Karachi, which could take up to two weeks.

Both men appeared in court in jailhouse garb, handcuffed and their ankles shackled.

FBI: Calif. Muslim Cleric Plotted Attacks
- By DAVID KRAVETS, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, August 9, 2005

(08-09) 14:38 PDT SAN FRANCISCO, (AP) --

A judge refused to set bail Tuesday for a Muslim cleric from Pakistan who faces deportation and has been accused of planning to set up a camp to train followers to kill Americans.

Shabbir Ahmed, 39, is only charged with overstaying his visa while he was heading a mosque in Lodi. The allegation about the terrorist camp came from an FBI agent's testimony during the immigration hearing.

"Do I believe he is planning a terror attack?" FBI agent Gary Schaaf said. "That's some of the information that has been provided to us."

He testified that Ahmed and others were in the fledgling stages of opening a terrorism training camp in Lodi, a town of 62,000 about 30 miles south of Sacramento. Schaaf did not say what type of terrorist attacks were planned, but he said Ahmed was acting as an intermediary for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.

Ahmed's lawyer said that if his client was connected with terrorism, he would be facing criminal charges rather than just being charged with overstaying his visa.

Ahmed was one of five men connected to the mosque arrested in June.

Immigration Judge Anthony Murry declined to offer Ahmed bail as he fights the immigraton charge. "I am compelled to find you are both a flight risk and a danger to the community," Murry said.

The judge set an Oct. 24 hearing in which Ahmed can challenge his detention and immigration charge.

©2005 Associated Press