World Bulletin / News Desk
The revered leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is heading to court to fight from being deported after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application.
Imam Mohammad Qatanani told his congregation at the Islamic Center of Passaic County that he will return to court on Monday, after the Department of Homeland Security appealed an immigration judge's decision not to deport him eight years ago after finding no credible links to terrorism, The Record (//bit.ly/2gYYpqX ) reported.
Qatanani came to the U.S. from Jordan. He was born in the West Bank and said that he was detained but not arrested by Israeli officials while visiting his native West Bank in 1993.
Israelis never told him he was convicted of a crime and he never saw a judge, he said. Qatanani and expert witnesses had said Israelis routinely detained Palestinian men at the time.
Immigration authorities sought to deport Qatanani on grounds that he didn't disclose an alleged arrest and conviction in Israel for being a member of Hamas, a group classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
His brother-in-law was a senior Hamas military leader killed by the Israelis, but Qatanani said in his 2008 trial that he did not participate with him in political activities.
"I know that justice will prevail and that everything will be in the right way. I believe in the judicial system in this country," Qatanani, 52, said Friday.
An attorney for homeland security wasn't available for comment.