Bail Denied For S. Fla. Clerics Accused Of Supporting Taliban

MIAMI (CBS4) – A pair of South Florida Muslim clerics, charged with providing financial support to the Pakistani Taliban, have been denied bail in federal court in Miami.

Magistrate Judge Barry Garber ordered pretrial detention for 76-year-old Hafiz Muhammad Sher Ali Khan and his son, 24-year-old Izhar Khan. Garber agreed with prosecutors that both men are a danger to the community and are likely to flee prosecution.

The elder Khan was formally arraigned during the hearing, he entered plea of not guilty.   Because it was the first day for Izhar Khan’s attorney, Judge Garber asked him if he would be taking the case permanently.  When attorney replied that he would know in a week, Judge Garber said he would arraign Izhar Khan at that time if the lawyer decided to retain him as a client.

Hafiz Khan is a religious leader at a mosque in Miami and his son Izhar is an imam at a mosque in Margate.

They and four other people are charged with sending at least $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban, which violently opposes Pakistan’s government and allies such as the U.S. The suspects face a maximum of 15 years in prison on each of four charges if convicted. Three of those charged remain in Pakistan. They are Ali Rehman, aka “Faisal Ali Rehman”; Amina Khan, aka “Amini Bibi” who is the daughter of Hafiz Khan and her son Alam Zeb, who is also Khan’s grandson. The fourth person named in the indictment is Irfan Khan, another of Hafiz’s sons who is in custody in Los Angeles.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the money sent by this group to Pakistan was used to buy guns and fund a madrassa (religious school) owned by Hafiz Khan which sheltered terrorists and trained children to kill Americans. The indictment does not charge the South Florida 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.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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