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Gov’t Seeks to Revoke Citizenship of Oregon Imam for Radical Ties

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An imam in Oregon has been accused of failing to reveal his past associations with Islamist extremists in his application for U.S. citizenship.   

Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, originally from Somalia, became a U.S. citizen in 1998. Government lawyers says Kariye had direct dealings with Osama Bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, the founders of Al Qaeda, and that while in the U.S., he  recruited members for the radical group Maktab Al-Khidamat (a precursor to Al Qaeda).   

U.S. authorities also say Kariye was a founding officer and director of the Global Relief Foundation, which funded Al Qaeda and other terror groups.

After he came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1982, he then went to Afghanistan, where he attended a jihadi training camp and fought with jihadis against the Soviets.  According to the immigration charges against him, he helped funnel fighters in Pakistan to jihad training camps. He was eventually arrested for these acitvities and spent four months in prison in Pakistan.

Kariye served for many years at Portand’s largest mosque, Masjed As-Saber. He was arrested in 2002 and pleaded guilty to using a false social security number and defrauding the state Medicaid program by lying about his income to receive state-funded health insurance. He was sentenced to five years on probation.

Kariye was put on a no-fly list and was one of a group of people who successfully sued the government to reveal why an individual is placed on the list.

No charges are being brought against Kariye. However, authorities seek to revoke his citizenship.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org