MARGATE (CBS4) – Izhar Kahn, an Imam cleared of terrorism charges Thursday, returned to a joyous welcome at this mosque in Margate Friday.
“I’m extremely happy,” Khan told CBS4’s Gary Nelson. “I don’t have words to explain my joy.”
The Imam was embraced by scores of his congregants, the day after a federal judge tossed out the case against him saying their was no evidence of guilt, and to allow the prosecution to proceed would be unconscionable.
Kahn was jailed for 20 months, most of it in solitary confinement, before the government’s case against him was tossed.
The bearded Khan said that, while he is not bitter against the government; he said he believes he was targeted because “of the way I look.”
Some members of his mosque echoed that sentiment.
“It’s a shame that there are innocent people here from…all across the middle east who are innocent and, unfortunately, get condemned,” said Ansari Rustam.
Khan’s brother, Irfan, was also charged in the alleged terror plot. The charges against him were thrown out, but not before he spent a year in the federal lockup in downtown Miami.
“It’s really a sad thing that this has happened to us and to our family and a lot of other families,” Irfan Kahn said.
The Kahn brothers’ father, Hafiz, remains on trial. The judge has ruled the case against the elderly father appears to have merit.
Some at the mosque said they see intolerance diminishing.
“It’s something that happens, but it’s not….pervasive,” said Fazal Deen, the secretary of the mosque.
Syed Ali came to services with his sons, big Miami Heat fans, and wished them a normal future.
“We have to make sure we provide an environment for these kids to grow up and live a normal life, just like every other kid,” Ali said.
Sabrina Rustam, a 7th grader wearing traditional Muslim dress, said she has been accepted by her non-Islamic peers.
“Being a Muslim, I feel like nobody really treats me differently,” Rustam said. “So, I feel that the future is brighter.”