The now former imam of Portland’s largest mosque has had his US citizenship revoked by the government due to his ties to terror groups and his support for “violent jihad” among other reasons.
Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, who lived in Portland, Oregon, until last week, was a “mujahedeen fighter in Afghanistan” who had expressed support for “violent jihad” and had coordinated with Osama bin Laden and other known terrorist leaders.
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The Oregonian reports:
The U.S. government has revoked the U.S. citizenship of the former imam of Portland’s largest mosque after he arrived in Somaliland last week.
Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye is on the government’s no-fly list, but the government arranged for him to travel back to his homeland after reaching a settlement with Kariye in January.
Under the deal, Kariye agreed not to challenge an order revoking his citizenship and acknowledged having provided false information to immigration officials in July 1997 when he had applied for U.S. naturalization.
The settlement appeared to be briefly in jeopardy Monday morning, when Kariye’s lawyers asked to rescind it after learning that Kariye had been detained during a stopover at the Dubai airport.
Kariye, 57, boarded a flight last Wednesday from Seattle for a 14-hour flight to Dubai and a planned flight four days later to Somaliland.
He arrived in Dubai as scheduled, according to court records, but soon sent his Oregon-based lawyers a text from the airport that read, “some thing is wrong.’’
Kariye was detained and interrogated for seven hours in the Dubai airport by United Arab Emirates officials and questioned about the “Portland Seven,’’ the As-Saber Mosque in Southwest Portland and others who may have attended services there, according to his lawyers. He wasn’t allowed to contact his attorneys during the questioning and all his personal belongings were seized, according to his lawyers, Philip Smith and Nicole Nelson.
In October, federal government lawyers told a federal appeals court that Kariye was placed on the no-fly list based on his history as a “mujahedeen fighter in Afghanistan against the Russians,” as well as his expressed support for “violent jihad” in conversations recorded between a cooperating informant and two members of the Portland Seven. They were a group of American Muslims from the Portland area who were prosecuted and convicted of trying to join al-Qaida forces in their fight against the United States military and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The U.S. sought to strip Kariye of his U.S. citizenship because he “provided false information and both willfully misrepresented and concealed material facts’’ when applying for naturalization to the United States.
During the process, the FBI informed U.S. Justice Department attorneys that Kariye had coordinated with Osama bin Laden and other known terrorist leaders and was associated with terrorist organizations including Makhtab Al-Khidamat, or MAK, a designated terrorist organization and pre-cursor to al-Qaida.
When Kariye had first sought citizenship, he had lied on his application to federal immigration officials about not being arrested in the past, failing to acknowledge a 1993 arrest in Pakistan, according to court documents.