Queens Mosque Raided
January 22, 2002
By Mohsin Zahee
New York - On Friday, January 4, the FBI and the Anti -Terrorist Task
Force raided Masjid e Khizra mosque, in Queens, on a false tip of weapons
The FBI received an anonymous tip that a few people planned to kill almost
400 people and hid dangerous weapons in the mosque. Federal agents, spy
dogs and a bomb squad found nothing.
Masjid e Khizra is run by a nonprofit organization Idara Tableeg-ul-Islam,
which was in the process of firing the mosque's imam, Mufti Abdul Rahman
Qamar, when the FBI raided it. Sources suggest that supporters of Qamar
provided the false tip, to cause trouble to Masjid e Khizra.
Federal agents took Khalil-ur-Rahman, a son of the imam, into custody
and interrogated him. The FBI went to the Imam Qamar's house and raided
the mosque, where they took four of the imam's sonsincluding one who was
praying at the timeinto custody.
"All of a sudden the FBI guys entered into the mosque and handcuffed all
of us, laid us down on the floor of the mosque and searched almost all
the parts of the mosque," said Ateeq ur Rahman, one of the imam's sons
who was arrested. "Meanwhile, the other team of FBI brought the imam to
the mosque and federal agents interrogated all of us. After completing
the search, the federal agents declared the mosque as well as the detainees
clear, Rahman said. He also said that federal agents took all of the imam's
sons to their home, searched portions of the house and checked their immigration
The FBI also interrogated other members of the mosque, including taxi
driver Saeed Mahmood. Mosque member Altaf Rana explained the complicated
roots of the disagreements between the factions.
The day after the raid, Imam Mufti Abdul Rahman Qamar left for Pakistan.
His son, Ateeq, told this correspondent that his father left as previously
scheduled, to see his mother who is seriously ill. After his father's
departure, Ateeq served as the acting imam. Idara Tableeg-ul-Islam, the
non-profit, recently appointed a new imam for the mosque.
The president of Idara Tableeg-ul-Islam, Ataf Hassan, and the secretary
general Kausar Chishti denied any involvement with the FBI. They said
at a press conference that the imam's services were terminated because
he failed to respond to a legal notice served him and for leaving for
Pakistan without prior permission of the Idara.
"A local newspaper has published that I provided false information to
the FBI, so I want to make it clear that it's a totally baseless accusation,"
Chishti said. "I can't even imagine doing such a stupid thing."
(Translated from Urdu by Salma Sabir Chaudhry for The Independent Press
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