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Paterson, NJ: Influential Muslim Leader Facing Deportation

One of New Jersey’s most influential Muslim leaders is facing deportation for a 1993 conviction in an Israeli court for assisting Hamas militants.

Imam Mohammad Qatanani has denied the accusation. Qatanani was arrested in the West Bank and detained for three months in 1993, but Israeli officials made no mention of a prosecution.

Immigration officials are refusing to grant Qatanani, 44, permanent residency in the U.S. because he failed to disclose the conviction in the his green card application, Slovinsky told the newspaper.

Qatanani denied helping Hamas but said he had been questioned in Israel about Palestinian students he’d helped to go to Jordan for schooling. His questioners implied links between some of the students and Hamas.

Qatanani’s mosque has hosted interfaith gatherings that have drawn Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Rep. William Pascrell Jr., among other political leaders.

(Source: WNBC)

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