They’re accused of helping to finance the Pakistani Taliban, among other charges. But members of the Miami mosque led by one of the imams for 14 years say they are “shocked,” of course, because they’ve never heard the Taliban-supporting religious leader utter a controversial statement.
Meanwhile, the first warning that the arrest may spark an “anti-Muslim backlash” comes from Sofian Zakkout of the American Muslim Association of North America:
In the wider Islamic community of South Florida, many feared that the imams’ arrests would trigger a backlash against Muslims.
“It’s like a hurricane hit our communities,” said Mr. Zakkout. Area Muslims are “very worried, they are upset, they are confused.”
He said that the recent news of Osama Bin Laden’s killing brought a sense of relief to the community. “We felt that it would be a change, that the black cloud has passed,” said Mr. Zakkout. “Now the nightmare is coming back.”
The two imams arrested were Hafiz Khan and his son Izhar Khan. Hafiz’s other son, Irfan Khan, was also arrested in Los Angeles. According to the indictment, Hafiz sent thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban and called for terror attacks against Pakistani officials. He also allegedly operated an overseas madrassa, and sent some of his young students to terrorism training camps in Afghanistan.
These children allegedly forced into terrorism are the ones Zakkout should be saving his concern for. Nobody has blamed the Muslim community for the actions of a few imams. But it seems as if every time a terrorist incident happens, certain Muslim leaders are more eager to warn of American bigotry rather than sympathize with the actual victims of the crime.