Manchester Muslim Cleric Hate
Thursday, 18th August 2005
Muslim cleric's battle over FBI terror claims
Imam Ramee Muhammad.A MUSLIM cleric, who lived in Manchester, is trying to have his name taken off an FBI terror list.
US citizen Imam Ramee Muhammad is accused of being associated with extremist preachers.
He left the city last year after being threatened with deportation.
The 41-year-old came to Britain in 2001 with his wife and children to teach in mosques and Islamic institutes.
He later claimed asylum after the 9/11 attacks, arguing he would face prejudice if he returned to his homeland.
Since returning to his native Chicago, the former US Marine has been interviewed by FBI investigators and placed on a list of people suspected of having terrorist links.
It also prevents him returning to his old job as a prison officer and bans him from leaving the US.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Mr Muhammad denied any extremist links and said he was to appear at Chicago Federal Court where he sought to overturn his status as a potential terrorist.
He said: "I'm not allowed to work until I'm taken off this list. I've committed no crimes and I have no criminal record. I have never talked to people about terrorism.
"I'm not charged with anything and I have talked with the FBI but I will not be able to support my family until I can clear my name."
Mr Muhammad spent nearly three years at a flat in Cheetham Hill and preached across the country. One of the mosques he spoke at was in Finsbury Park, London, where he worked with controversial cleric Abu Hamza.
A Sunday newspaper claimed, in April last year, that he had taught shoe bomber Richard Reid.
Days after the article was published, Mr Muhammad was arrested and held at the Harmsworth detention centre for two weeks.
Although freed after a deportation hearing, he soon left the country with his family.
He said Reid attended only one lecture he gave at Finsbury Park mosque and denied he promoted radical views of Islam.
After returning to the US, the cleric has been receiving aid from a charity.
The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, claims that the FBI ruling has left Mr Muhammad in a legal limbo.
Philip O'Bannon, president of the organisation's Chicago branch, said: "He is banned from returning to his old job and if he went for a new job then he would have to reveal why he lost his last one.
"He has not been charged with anything. There is no problem the FBI with being suspicious of people but there needs to be proof if people are going to be banned from work and travel indefinitely."
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