MARGATE (CBS4) – Police increased their patrols around a mosque in Margate on Sunday, a mosque where Izhar Khan, 24, once served as imam, or spiritual leader.
Now Khan and two of his family members are being held by federal authorities after they were indicted on charges that they helped funnel money to support the Taliban in Pakistan.
According to federal investigators, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, was the ring leader and Izhar’s father. Hafiz Khan was also an imam at a Miami mosque on Flagler Street. Also taken into custody was Hafiz Kahn’s other son, 37-year old Irfan Kahn, in Los Angeles.
Three other individuals residing in Pakistan, Ali Rehman, aka “Faisal Ali Rehman;” Alam Zeb; and Amina Khan, aka “Amina Bibi,” also are charged in the indictment. Amina Khan is the daughter of Khan and her son, Alam Zeb, is Khan’s grandson, according to a release from the U. S. Attorney’s office.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said this group was able to send at least $50 thousand from South Florida to Pakistan; the money used to by guns and funded a madrassa (religious school) which sheltered terrorists and trained children to kill Americans.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said this is just another case is put South Florida under the spotlight for suspected terrorist activity.
“Because of the diverse population that we have here in South Florida and the amount of money that circulates in South Florida, additionally there are a number of people that are tied to al Qaeda and other organizations that have ties to South Florida,” said Ferrer.
It’s still a shock to Emmanuel Caseneuve who lived next door to Izhar Kan in North Lauderdale.
“I mean to know somebody is like living next door, to hear that, it just makes you, I don’t know, kind of speechless about it,” said Caseneuve.
Caseneuve is also wondering what he may have noticed if he had paid any attention to the man who lived next door.
“I never met him, I don’t know what he even looked like, so to hear that, it’s very disturbing,” Caseneuve.
Hafiz Khan and his son Izhar Khan Saturday in South Florida. They are expected to make their initial appearance in federal court in Miami at 1:30 p.m. Monday.
If convicted, each faces a potential 15 years in prison for each count of the indictment.
“As for the Imam Hafiz Khan, he has been indefinitely suspended as the Imam of the Flagler mosque. To our knowledge the activities in the indictment did not occur on the property of MCA Muslim Communities Association nor was any such activities ever sanctioned by our organization,” said Asad Bayumus with the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations.
The indictment does not charge the mosques themselves with any wrongdoing and the individual defendants are charged based on their provision of material support to terrorism, not on their religious beliefs or teachings.