This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/670
Imam's US born son trained at Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan - " to learn how to kill Americans" used pictures of president Bush as targets
June 8, 2005
Associated Press FBI agents investigate the Lodi residence of a man who federal authorities believe is linked to an an Al Qaeda cell.
Update: The initial government reports of plans to blow of supermarkets and hospitals was changed according to a federal source "because it might panic the public".. Now there are two different affadavits, one which was released in Sacramento and one which was released in Washington ,The changes are being challenged by the lawyer's of the arrested Muslims who allege that it will bias potential jurors in the case. (See articles at bottom of the page ).
See article below entitled :"Terror probe in California town isn't over yet".Umer Hayat has been accused of lying about his son's activities
Qaida terror cell . http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/terror/20050608-0933-terrorarrests.html
Lodi Mosque Imam's US born son tells FBI he went abroad for Al Qaeda training "to learn to kill Americans".
Lodi mosque board member tells FOX News that ; "We are here to stay - we are not leaving - we are part of the fabric of this country " http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,158042,00.html
WASHINGTON A father and son in California were charged with lying to federal agents about the son's training at an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan for potential attacks on U.S. hospitals and supermarkets.
The arrests and the related detention of two Muslim leaders on alleged immigration violations are part of an investigation that is trying to determine whether authorities have uncovered a network of al-Qaeda supporters in Lodi, Calif., according to federal law enforcement officials who spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing.
Lodi is an agricultural town 40 miles south of Sacramento.
Hamid Hayat, a U.S. citizen, was interviewed by the FBI last Friday and at first denied any link to terror camps. But the next day he was given a polygraph test and admitted he attended an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Pedro Aguilar that was unsealed Tuesday.
In the course of weapons training, Hayat said photos of President Bush and other American political figures were pasted onto targets, the affidavit said. At the end of training, participants were given the opportunity to choose the nation in which their attacks would be carried out.
"Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission," according to the affidavit. "Potential targets for attack included hospitals and large food stores."
Hayat and his father, Umer Hayat, were detained over the weekend, FBI Agent John Cauthen said Tuesday. The elder Hayat, also a U.S. citizen, lied about his son's involvement and money he sent for the son's training, the affidavit said.
Both men were being held at the Sacramento County Jail. Umer Hayat's attorney, Johnny Griffin III, called the allegations "shocking" but said his client "is charged with nothing more than lying to an agent."
Federal authorities need just one charge to obtain an arrest warrant, Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said. Additional charges could follow, Sierra said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski denied a bail request for the elder Hayat, saying he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.
"He just returned from Pakistan where he built a new home and contributed financial assistance to an al-Qaeda sponsored program training his son and others to kill Americans whenever and wherever they can be found," Nowinski said.
Hamid Hayat's attorney wasn't in court, and Nowinski set the son's bail hearing for Friday. A telephone message left Wednesday with Hamid Hayat's lawyer, Wazhna Mojaddidi, was not immediately returned.
Hamid Hayat was trying to return to the U.S. on May 29 when the FBI told its Sacramento office that he was on the federal "no-fly" list.
The plane was diverted to Japan, where Hayat was interviewed by the FBI and denied any connection to terrorism. He was allowed to fly to California, but was interviewed again on Friday and Saturday.
He voluntarily took a lie detector test, which the affidavit said indicated he was not telling the truth. Hayat then acknowledged spending time at the training camp, the affidavit said.
Cauthen identified the two other men as Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Adil Khan. They were detained early Monday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said.
The Web site for the Farooqia Islamic Center in Lodi identifies both men as imams.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the men were detained after meeting separately with Umer Hayat on Saturday.
In Lodi, a local Islamic leader defended the community.
"We are a peace-loving people. We have never done anything to violate the laws of the United States, and we don't intend to," Taj Kahn, of the Islamic Cultural Center, told reporters Wednesday morning.
"We always preached peace and tranquility in our community. We have never, ever preached violence or breaking any laws of the United States."
Two men detained in possible terror cell
Federal authorities have detained four men who they believe are linked to al-Qaida terror cell in Lodi, The Sacramento Bee reported on its Web site Tuesday night.
Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, were arrested over the weekend on charges of lying to federal agents and both made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Tuesday, FBI special agent John Cauthen confirmed to The Associated Press. The two men, who are both U.S. citizens, are being held in Sacramento County Jail.
Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, were arrested over the weekend on charges of lying to federal agents and both made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Tuesday, FBI special agent John Cauthen confirmed to The Associated Press. The two men, who are both U.S. citizens, are being held in Sacramento County Jail.
Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Adil Khan, are being detained on immigration violations, Cauthen said. He said he couldn't give any further details, citing an ongoing investigation.
Ahmed is the current imam and Khan is the former imam of a mosque in Lodi, the Lodi News-Sentinel reported on its Web site.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed in Sacramento court, where the Hayats had an initial appearance on Tuesday, Hamid Hayat is accused of training in an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan to learn "how to kill Americans," the Bee reported.
The younger Hayat is accused of being trained to use explosives and other weapons, using photographs of President Bush as targets, the Bee reported, citing court documents.
Sacramento -- Federal authorities said Wednesday that the arrests of a Lodi man suspected of involvement in terrorist training and his father were a prelude to "further developments" in the case, but they added they had found no evidence the men planned to carry out terrorist attacks.
The two men -- Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47 -- were arrested Sunday on charges of lying to the FBI less than a week after the younger Hayat was detained aboard a San Francisco-bound plane from the Far East when authorities discovered he was on a "no-fly" list of suspected Islamic extremists.
"We fully anticipate there will be further developments in the hours and days ahead," McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of California, said at a news conference here.
Although the initial investigation appeared to be focusing on the Hayats and their immediate circle in Lodi, a source told The Chronicle that federal agents also were questioning people living in the Bay Area who have associated with the two suspects.
Federal officials at the news conference confirmed that men associated with two Muslim groups in Lodi -- Muhammad Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed -- were being detained on alleged immigration violations. They did not say whether there was any connection between the two men and the Hayats.
Late Wednesday, federal authorities detained another person, Mohammad Hassan Adil, 19, of Lodi, on alleged immigration violations, FBI spokesman John Cauthen said. Adil is Khan's son.
According to a seven-page FBI affidavit, Hamid Hayat, after failing a lie- detector test, admitted that he had spent six months in an al Qaeda-run camp in Pakistan where he trained to "kill Americans," using photos of high-ranking U.S. officials, including President Bush, as target practice.
The affidavit says Hayat, a U.S. citizen, told interrogators that he wanted to carry out his attacks in the United States.
Scott, however, stressed Wednesday that federal officials had not uncovered evidence of a specific plot or targets.
"They were not caught in the process of planning any attack on the United States," Scott said of the Hayats. "We did not find these guys in the middle of a plot or executing an attack."
The FBI affidavit released to reporters Wednesday, signed by Agent Pedro Tenoch Aguilar, deleted a number of details that the agency had included in a version released Tuesday. For example, the first affidavit included the sentence, "Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores," which was removed from Wednesday's version.
An FBI statement released Wednesday said the agency "has no information about specific threats to hospitals or food stores."
Also deleted from the second affidavit was a paragraph saying that Hamid Hayat had seen "hundreds of attendees from various parts of the world" at the Pakistani camp.
The first affidavit said the camp was run by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, identified as a friend of Umer Hayat's father-in-law. The reference is believed to be to Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, a well-known training-camp leader in Pakistan. In the updated affidavit, his name was removed.
Cauthen said the information had been deleted as part of a normal review to ensure the government was presenting the "most accurate" evidence possible.
According to the FBI affidavit, Umer Hayat said his son became interested in attending a terrorist training camp as a teenager after being influenced by a classmate in Pakistan and an uncle who had fought with the mujahedeen in Afghanistan.
Hamid Hayat left Pakistan on May 27, the affidavit says. Federal agents found his name on a no-fly list after his plane left South Korea two days later, and they had the flight diverted to Japan, where he was questioned and let go.
On June 3, Hamid Hayat was interviewed by the FBI in the United States and denied attending terrorist training, saying "he would never be involved with anything related to terrorism," the affidavit said.
But a day later, the affidavit added, after two hours of questioning and failing the lie detector test, Hamid Hayat "admitted that he had, in fact, attended a jihadist training camp in Pakistan" for about six months.
His father, after initially denying his son's involvement in the camp, said after viewing a videotape of his son's alleged confession that he knew his son had attended the camp and that he had given him an allowance of $100 a month, the affidavit said.
FBI Special Agent Keith Slotter said Hamid Hayat had been under investigation "for an extended period of time" but would not be more specific.
The Hayats were being held in Sacramento County Jail and declined to be interviewed by The Chronicle.
Lawyers for the father and son pointed out that the charges did not involve allegations that they engaged in terrorist activity, only that they made false statements to a federal agent -- in their initial denials.
Wazhma Mojaddidi, a lawyer for Hamid Hayat, said the suggestion that he was engaged in terrorism is a "false statement."
Neither Mojaddidi nor Johnny Griffin III, a lawyer for Umer Hayat, would comment on the affidavit's assertions that their clients had ties to a terrorist training camp.
In Lodi, neighbors of the Hayats were stunned to learn of the allegations. Along Acacia Street, a street of small, weathered homes with wood or stucco siding, everyone knew Umer Hayat as the friendly driver of a tan ice cream van.
Karina Murill, 21, said her 3-year-old daughter and other kids in the area all referred to Umer as "el barbon," which means "the bearded man" in Spanish. Murill rents a home owned by Umer Hayat and said Hayat learned some Spanish so he could speak with customers in the mixed neighborhood of Pakistanis, Latinos and Caucasians.
"I have nothing bad to say about them; they were so nice," she said.
A relative of the Hayats said the father and son had simply told federal agents what they wanted to hear after two days of interrogation.
"It's a bunch of B.S., that is what it is, it's all lies," said Usama Ismail, 19, who is Hamid Hayat's cousin.
Hamid Hayat had spent much of his youth in Pakistan studying the Quran and never graduated from high school, Ismail said. Hayat had just returned after spending two years in Pakistan, where he was married last fall, and had started work Monday picking cherries for a Lodi company, he said. Hayat's wife is still in Pakistan.
"There are no terrorist training camps in Pakistan, and even if there was, Hamid would not go to anything like that," Ismail said. "The only thing the FBI has, after two days of investigation, is statements. But they told them what they wanted to hear."
The connection, if any, between the Hayats and the three men detained on immigration charges was unclear.
Members of the Lodi Muslim Mosque, a few blocks from the Hayats' home, said father and son worshiped there. Khan, one of the men detained on immigration charges, has been described as a onetime imam at the mosque, but in recent months there apparently was a falling-out.
Joe Rishwain Jr., a lawyer for the Lodi Muslim Mosque, said Khan came to the United States three years ago and arranged with mosque trustees to create a school. The mosque came up with $200,000 for land and other start-up costs, he said, but the deal ran into complications.
Rishwain said Khan put the land in the name of a group called the Farooqia Islamic Center. He said the group was "named for a group in Pakistan that is anti-America."
The Lodi mosque sued the Farooqia group in March, he said, seeking its cash back or title to the property.
Rishwain said Hamid Hayat had ties to the Farooqia organization. "I understand the son was over at the center -- he's been in and out of there," he said.
Gary Nelson, civil attorney for Khan and others named in the civil suit, said, "My clients who are involved in Farooqia are anything but anti-American. They are all business people from Lodi, basically upstanding people, American citizens, family people."
He said his clients had never heard of the Hayats.
Khan is being held by federal authorities in the Santa Clara County Jail, while Ahmed, an administrator of the Farooqia Islamic Center and imam at the Lodi Muslim Mosque, was being held at an unknown facility in Sacramento, according to their immigration lawyer, Saad Ahmad. It was unclear where Khan's son was being held.
The lawyer predicted they would be cleared of all immigration violations.
"Let me say for sure: They are not terrorists. They are not involved in terrorism," Ahmad said.
Ahmad had met with Khan in jail Wednesday and said, "He's doing well. He's very eager to show that he is completely innocent."
Khan and Ahmed were both present at a community meeting in October with Scott, the U.S. attorney, and Slotter, the FBI agent, a Muslim activist said Wednesday.
The meeting was set up by the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and dealt with the FBI's pre-election plan to heighten security in the area as well as other issues, including racial profiling in the Islamic community.
Basim Elkarra, executive director for the group that set up the meeting, said Khan and Ahmed "had a relationship with the FBI, they had spoken to the FBI and cooperated. For all of a sudden this to happen, people are really disappointed."
The connection: Lodi to Pakistan
Hamid Hayat was arrested in Lodi, where he had just taken a job picking cherries after spending two years in Pakistan. According to an FBI affidavit, he admitted that he had received terrorist training at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan, using the images of high-ranking U.S. officials, including President Bush, as target practice..
The investigation: key figures
Hamid Hayat, 22, admitted to the FBI that he had spent six months in a Pakistani camp where he trained to "kill Americans," according to an FBI affidavit.
Shabbir Ahmed and Muhammad Adil Khan, who have ties to Muslim groups in Lodi, are accused of immigration violations. So is Khan's son, Mohammad Hassan Adil.
Terrorism-related cases in the United States
Here is a list of the people arrested in the United States on terror- related charges and the status of their cases after Sept. 11, 2001:
Zacarias Moussaoui: Indicted December 2001 by a federal grand jury on six conspiracy counts, including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, destroy aircraft and murder U.S. employees. He is the only person who has been charged in an American courtroom for direct involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. He was arrested after taking flight lessons that were deemed suspicious. Lawyers for Moussaoui petitioned the Supreme Court in January for permission to interview detained al Qaeda captives they believe can help his case.
Suspected Detroit sleeper cell: Karim Koubriti, 26, and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi, 38, were arrested in September 2001 and charged with ID fraud and providing material support to terrorists. The two accused men were found guilty in 2003, but the judge dismissed the convictions after discovering that prosecutors had kept some evidence from the defense.
Ali S.K. al-Marri: The Qatari student was arrested at his home in Peoria, Ill., in December 2001 on suspicion of being a sleeper agent. He was declared an enemy combatant in 2003, and is being held without charge in a naval brig.
Richard Reid: British citizen arrested for attempting to blow up an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami on Dec. 22, 2001, with explosives hidden in his shoe. Reid pleaded guilty to eight charges on Oct. 4, 2002, including: attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; attempted homicide; placing an explosive device on an aircraft; attempted murder; two counts of interference with flight crew and attendants; attempted destruction of an aircraft; and using a destructive device during a crime of violence. He was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 30, 2003.
Jose Padilla: Arrested on May 8, 2002, he is accused of training with al Qaeda and plotting to detonate a "dirty" bomb. He is being held as an enemy combatant, but he continues to challenge his status.
James Ujaama: Born James Earnest Thompson in Seattle, he was indicted on Aug. 29, 2002, by a federal grand jury in Seattle on one charge of conspiracy to provide material support and resources for al Qaeda by plotting to establish a jihadi training camp in Bly, Ore., and another charge of using, carrying, possessing and discharging firearms during a crime. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and has since been released from prison on probation with time served.
Lackawanna Six: Six U.S. citizens of Yemeni descent, Shafal Mosed, 25; Mukhtar al-Bakri, 23; Faysal Galab, 27; Sahim Alwan, 30; Yahya Goba, 26; and Yasein Taher, 25, were arrested in September 2002 after a series of raids in Lackawanna, N.Y. They were accused of traveling to Afghanistan in May 2001 to train with al Qaeda. In plea bargain deals, they admitted receiving weapons training at an Afghanistan camp. All six pleaded guilty and were given prison sentences ranging from seven to 10 years.
Portland Seven: In October 2002, seven Muslims from Portland, Ore., were indicted on charges of conspiring to wage war against the United States by trying to join the Taliban shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Patrice Ford, 32, and Jeffrey Leon Battle, 33, were each sentenced to 18 years in prison. Maher Hawash, 39, received seven years, while brothers Ahmed Bilal, 25, and Muhammad Bilal, 23, received 10 and eight years respectively. Martinique Lewis was sentenced to three years in prison after she pleaded guilty to providing money to help the group.
Lyman Faris: In May 2003, Faris, an Ohio truck driver, pleaded guilty to training with Osama bin Laden and plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. He had been arrested after being named by captured al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
The paintball jihad: In June 2003, 11 men were indicted for training -- sometimes with paintball sessions in Virginia -- to fight with Islamists in Kashmir. Six of the men pleaded guilty; three were convicted; two were acquitted on all charges. The guilty received sentences ranging from four years to life in prison.
Nuradin Abdi: A Somali native charged in November 2003 with conspiring to strike an unnamed Columbus, Ohio-area mall. According to the FBI, the plot was devised shortly after Abdi returned to the United States after attending an al Qaeda training camp in 1999. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in an Ohio jail.
Mohammad Hossain, Yassin Aref: After a yearlong FBI sting operation, the two men were arrested in August 2004 in Albany, N.Y., on charges of money laundering and attempting to conceal material support for a terrorist organization. A federal magistrate set bail for the two mosque leaders, saying the case against the men is not as strong as it once looked.
Hamid Hayat, Umer Hayat: The father and son were arrested by FBI agents in Lodi this week after the son allegedly admitted attending al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan that taught participants "how to kill Americans."
Source: Chronicle research
Chronicle staff writers Demian Bulwa, Alan Gathright, Suzanne Herel and Michael Taylor contributed to this report.E-mail the writers at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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Lodi Muslim Mosque provides worship place for Pakistanis
By Ross Farrow
News-Sentinel staff writer
In Lodi, a large number of Pakistani immigrants worship Islam. Their religious center is the Lodi Muslim Mosque on Poplar Street, a busy place that serves an estimated 2,000 Muslims, with as many as 500 attending Friday prayer each week.
The mosque, an inconspicuous building across the street from the Lodi Boys and Girls Club, is the headquarters for Islam for the Lodi area. Islamic teachings say the mosque should be functional and clean, but it shouldn't stand out, said the former Lodi mosque President Nasim Khan.
The mosque has few decorations. The room where prayer is conducted resembles a large multipurpose room rather than a chapel.The walls of the Lodi mosque are limited to Islamic calligraphy and verses from the Koran, sometimes spelled Quran, the Islamic counterpart to the Bible. The mosque also has two posters with the word Allah on it, a bookcase full of religious books and a platform from which the imam, or spiritual leader, can be seen while giving his sermons.
"We don't have icons or images of any kind," Khan said. "It's strictly forbidden."
You won't even have images of Muhammad, the prophet whose teachings in the seventh century form the basis for Islam.
"One of the greatest sins (in Islam) is to portray him in a picture or a drawing," Khan said. "Muhammad is revered, but not worshiped in any way. That was his teaching."
Unlike Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe is the son of God, Muhammad was a mortal human being who spread the word of God, Nasim Khan said.
"Muhammad emphasized he was just a messenger," he said.
Khan acknowledged that he is curious about what Muhammad looked like, but he said he doesn't need to see illustrations or photographs. A complete physical description has been documented in print so he can form is own visual image of what Muhammad looked like.
Muslims pray five times each day at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and at night. Friday is as significant to Muslims as Sunday is to Christians. At 1 p.m. each Friday (2 p.m. during daylight-saving time), Muslims gather for their special prayer of the week.
On other days, Muslim men may pray at home or wherever they happen to be as long as the ground is clean. But Friday prayer must take place at the mosque.
Men with jobs go to great lengths to attend Friday prayer, which lasts about a half-hour. Aman Khan, president of the Lodi Muslim Mosque, often takes Friday off from his job as a pharmacist for Longs Drugs in Lodi and works on Saturday or Sunday. At other times, he adjusts his lunch hour to accommodate Friday prayer.
Women don't participate in Friday prayer, at least at the mosque.
"At this particular mosque, it's men only," said Nasim Khan, no relation to Aman Khan. "We don't have the facilities to accommodate them."
Women are allowed into larger mosques, such as the ones in Stockton and San Jose. In Stockton, men and women have different entrances and pray in different rooms. In San Jose, where Nasim Khan once lived, women use the back of the room and pray as a separate group.
"The mosque is a place for meditation and prayer," Nasim Khan said. "When you have women there, you're always going to have (a distraction) at a place of worship. Men and women don't intermingle."
When entering the mosque to pray, shoes must be removed at the entrance out of respect for the mosque, said Nasim Kahn. The floor needs to be kept clean because chairs are not used during prayer.
During a recent Friday's prayer, Muhammad Adil, serving as imam on an interim basis, gave a sermon in Arabic, also called Khutba. That day's sermon was about Ramadan, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset from Nov. 17 through Dec. 16.
The second part of Friday prayer has the hundreds of men present to join in for prayer. A majority of the Muslims present wore some type of headgear out of respect for Allah. Any type of headgear is appropriate, said Aman Khan.
Prior to Friday prayer, each person must wash his hands and arms up to the elbows, his face, head and feet. The emphasis is on being clean.
"If you miss some of these things, your prayer is not valid," Aman Khan said. "You have to do it again."
Prayer involves men, wearing loose-fitting clothing, bending on their knees with their head to the floor. Their nose and forehead must touch the floor, which is why the floor must be clean.
"When you put your head on the ground, it's something you only do before God," Nasim Khan said. "You don't do it in front of a king. It is a gesture of humility reserved only for God himself."
Women aren't required to participate in Friday prayer at the mosque.
"They have to look after the family, the kids," Adil said. "They are busy there. They don't have time. We (men) have the time to come."
Women still have to pray, but it's all right for them to pray at home while the men pray at the mosque, at least for Friday prayer, Adil said.
Friday's other four prayers, plus the five prayers on all other days can be done at home or any other location where the ground is clean, said Nasim Khan.
Women are exempt from praying during their menstrual cycle after giving birth, because prayer calls for bending on one's knees and touching their head to the floor, Aman Khan said.
One of Islam's major customs is Ramadan, which began Nov. 17 and continues through Dec. 16. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from food, drink and sex from sunrise to sunset each day during the month-long period.
The times to fast are very precise. For example, on Thanksgiving Day, eating and drinking are forbidden from 5:26 a.m. until 4:55 p.m. Some people set their alarm early enough to eat before sunrise, said Aman Khan.
Fasting during Ramadan is through Allah's command that will be rewarded with Paradise, Adil said.
"This month is a month of patience, too," Adil said. "It shows how those who go hungry need help."
Anyone who is weak or sick can be excused from fasting during Ramadan, said Aman Khan. However, they must feed 60 poor people one time for each fast they miss, he said.
Most Muslim adults in Lodi grew up in Pakistan, although about 40 members of the mosque are Palestinian, about 10 are from Yemen and 10 others are from Afghanistan, said Aman Khan.
A Palestinian, Mohamad Hussien, is the mosque's treasurer. He has lived in Lodi since 1982 and is in his fifth year on the mosque's board of directors.
"They are my brothers," Hussien said of the Pakistani-dominated Lodi mosque. "Living and getting along with them is an order from Allah."
Muslims are to treat people of all races and cultures with manners and respect, Hussien said.
"We are on Earth to pass the exam the exam from God," he said.
The Lodi Muslim Mosque is run by an 11-member board of directors. As president, Aman Khan is responsible for the overall administration of the mosque operation. He and the imam are the mosque's spokesmen.
The president usually serves for two years; however, sometimes a vote of the membership is conducted after one year. Nasim Khan served as president for two years until July of this year, when the membership elected Aman Khan.
Aman Khan was born in Pakistan in the Northwest Frontier Province, 50 to 60 miles east of the Afghanistan border. Khan is a very common name in the province, he said.
In fact, four of the Lodi mosque leaders are named Khan Aman, Nasim, Shujah and Taj. None are related.
To avoid confusion in Pakistan, legal transactions are signed with the person's name, followed by his father's and paternal grandfather's names.
For example, a birth certificate or other document would say "Aman Khan, son of Abdul Khan, grandson of Behram Khan."
Aman Khan moved to England 36 years ago when he was 11 years old. He graduated from the pharmacy department at University of the Pacific in Stockton in 1986 and started working the following year at Longs Drugs at West Lodi Avenue and South Church Street.
The mosque board is busy looking for an imam to serve the Lodi mosque on a permanent basis. Yosuf Bhola was Lodi's imam for more than 10 years. He left the mosque about two years ago and now heads the Stockton Mosque.
Jawad Ahmed served for about a year before leaving for the East Coast, where he is now principal at an Islamic school, said Nasim Khan.
The selection process begins after the board decides what the Lodi Muslim Mosque's needs are. Aman Khan says the next imam should speak English and become a leader in the community as well as the mosque.
Prospective imams are trained through four or five years studying the Koran at an Islamic university, most of which are in Europe and Asia, said Aman Khan.
Board members look for potential imams through such channels as advertising in Islamic magazines, searching the Internet and through word of mouth.
The building on Poplar Street that houses the mosque was purchased by the mosque in about 1978, said Nasim Khan. Prior to the Lodi mosque opening, Muslims in the community went to Sacramento, especially for Friday prayer.
MIM: The article below clearly shows how despite growing up and being educated in the United States, many Muslims in America are living in an Islamist parallel universe which epitomises the struggle between the Dar El Harb - (state of war) and Dar El Islam (state of Islam) .
|Lodi's Pakistani women struggle with clash of cultures
By Julia Priest
Shahnah is a resident of two cultures. She occupies parallel worlds.
Each day, like any other young mother, she gets up, prepares breakfast, dresses and feeds her young sons, and prepares them for school. She sends her husband off to his job as a customer services supervisor.
She gets dressed, choosing a lightweight sweater with long sleeves, and jersey calf-length skirt the autumn days are cooler now. She then heads to her job as a resource specialist with the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, finishing in time to be home for her boys.
But when she enters her Lodi home each evening, she changes. She dons the traditional garb of her homeland, northwestern Pakistan, near the Afghan border. She observes the traditions of her faith, and at home or among family she covers herself in a modest flowing gown.
That day, the family will meet at the home of her grandfather, around 5 p.m. for their first meal of the day. It is Ramadan, and the family will not eat or drink from sunup to sundown.
Shahnah, like hundreds of Muslim women living in Lodi, is struggling with a clash of cultures. The women were brought up in a tradition which tells women from birth that their place is in the home and that modesty is paramount.
They are prohibited from social interaction with men outside their families and even the selection of a life partner is not a matter of their own choosing.<
Yet they live in Lodi, in a larger society where girls and boys clad in shorts and T-shirts play contact sports together at school, where ubiquitous advertising emphasizes sex, and where marriages are sometimes a matter of whim.
In the name of assimilation, they feel compelled to behave in a way that is incompatible with their beliefs, and see their children drifting further away from the core of their cultural identity.
(In researching these issues, a News-Sentinel writer faced challenges in getting close to local Pakistani women. Access was sometimes denied, and always questioned, and in most cases the women themselves did not want to be identified or have their names used. None of the women interviewed for this story consented to have their photographs taken, since publicity of any kind is deemed to be inimical to the rule of modesty.)
Still, some bend the ties of tradition, and go to work and to school so they can learn to function here. Others are not so bold, or are more bound by strict tradition, so they remain isolated.
In a pervasive irony, they remain bound in their homes by the inability to connect with public services and benefits, in a country which celebrates freedom of choice and equal access to social services.
One family, though, invited a writer into their home and shared some of the story of their life as it is today, removed by a culture apart, and by the thousands of miles separating Lodi from Pakistan.
Geographically speaking, the local climate and land are similar, but the society is a world apart.
Shahnah Shah, who lives in Lodi with her husband, Fiaz, and sons Isaac, 5, and Rehan, 3, came from Pakistan as an infant. Her uncle had come first, then her grandparents, and other family members followed. They were poor in Pakistan and opportunities were limited, so her parents brought her here.
When her uncle, Johnny Khan, arrived in 1950, he was one of only a handful of Pakistani men in Lodi. Now there are more than 200 members of her family in the community.
She grew up in the culture of her family, but adapted and assimilated, taking on those features of American culture that allowed her to sustain her family here.
When she attended Lodi High School, she went straight home after school, never to dances or social functions. Swimming was off-limits, as were physical games involving boys.
Later, she drove to classes each day at California State University, Sacramento, grateful for the new car her father had bought her. Her brother was a student also, but his was an older, less reliable used car. Her father had made a choice, she said: A new car would be safer, and less likely to break down, so there would be less chance of her coming in contact with a man outside her family.
In fact, a woman who is touched in an inappropriate way by a man outside her family is considered tainted. In some extreme cases, she would be shunned and outcast, even by her family.
A woman or girl who was a victim of sexual assault, even by an invader in her own home, would be subject to shame, as would her family.
"She would never be married," Shahnah Shah said.
Physical contact with men other than relatives is strictly forbidden in Islamic culture once a girl reaches the age of puberty. This poses a problem for many young Muslim girls today, as American public schools are co-ed.
Shahnah's husband, Fiaz, a friendly, welcoming man who works two jobs, came here in 1987, and feels lucky to have attended adult school.
He offered the visitor a plate of Karai-Teka, a skewer of grilled spiced beef cubes with vegetables, explaining that in Muslim culture, it is considered polite to offer food to any guest in the home at any time, and to refuse the food would be a sign of disrespect.
Adults attending school in Pakistan would be scoffed at, Fiaz Shah said.
"If you show a few gray hairs, people will ask, What are you doing in school? Why don't you take care of your family and pay attention to your prayers?' "
While women in Pakistan are encouraged to become educated, Shah said, here their options might be limited by the availability of segregated schools. In Lodi, there are none.
"girls are missing out on education, which they would receive if they were in an Islamic country, because separate educational facilities would be available," Fiaz Shah said.
As a result, girls may suffer from a lack of education in this country, said Fiaz Shah, who also serves as a bilingual instructor at Lodi Middle School.
The solution is that many girls are withdrawn from public school by about the seventh grade, he said. They are schooled at home, since there are no private Islamic girls schools in Lodi or nearby.
The Lodi Mosque has plans to build a new center on Lower Sacramento Road which will include a school for Islamic education and a separate women's area for prayer. At this time, there is no place where girls may attend classes segregated from the boys.
There is a large Mosque in Sacramento, which permits worship by women, but since the Lodi Mosque is not large enough to have separate facilities for them, women are not permitted there.
While Shahnah Shah grew up and was educated here, for many Pakistani women who came here as adults, the experience is different.
In deeply traditional Muslim homes, there is an adage: "Women come out of their houses twice in their lives; Once to be married, and once to be buried."
Mohammed Adil, interim imam of Lodi Mosque, said this extreme view is not held by many in this country. But many of the social constraints of the culture are practiced here.
Women generally don't leave the house when their husbands aren't home, Adil said. Shopping, going to the doctor, taking the kids to school would be permitted, necessary activities, but otherwise, the woman should stay in the home and attend to the family and children, he said.
Visiting a friend or going out to see a movie alone would not be acceptable journeys.
"Women only do those things with their husbands," he said.
The cycle begins and ends with the same issues: Communication and education. Women may be isolated, partly because of language. They could improve their English if they could go to adult school, but they don't go because it would require them to come into contact with men.
There is a class for English as a second language at Heritage School, but since it is publicly funded, the law prohibits officials from excluding men from the class. Husbands and fathers in traditional homes object if classes are co-ed, and would not allow their women to attend.
Many miss out on basic services, such as health care, transportation and social services because they can't ask for them in English, or they are prohibited from using them because of the possibility of contact with men.
Dependent on their spouses by tradition and by education, many of these recent transplants to the immodest culture of America are more restricted than in their homeland, Faiz Shah said.
While in Pakistan, a woman would seldom be left alone; here things are different. Families are separated by geography, and grandmothers, aunts and cousins who might be around to help may not be available here.
If there is an emergency, and the husband is not home, a traditional woman could be in trouble, Faiz Shah said.
"They don't even know how to dial 911," he said. "They would not know how to talk to the operator if they did."
Yasmeen, which is not her real name, came to Lodi about 10 years ago, with her husband and three children. Educated in Pakistan, she found work here, and has raised her family in the transitional culture.
Her daughter, Najwa, also a pseudonym, is 18 and looking forward to marriage, which was arranged by her parents well in advance. The selection of a husband is not up to the daughter, Yasmeen said.
In theory, girls are permitted to express a dissenting opinion, and are never forced to accept the parents' choice, but the selection begins and ends with her parents.
"Most of us have arranged marriages, and they've worked out pretty good," said Nasim Khan, former president of the Lodi Mosque.
Khan cited the high divorce rate in America and low divorce rate among Muslims. Divorce is severely frowned upon and, while it is allowed, it is not commonplace.
Arranged marriages are based on hundreds of years of culture, he said.
"It's a system that works."
While marriages are based on criteria apart from romance, love and devotion are valued in the family.
"We fall in love after marriage, so once you fall in love, there's no turning back," Nasim Khan said.
Aman Khan, president of the Lodi Mosque, shed some light on the premium set on modesty in the Muslim culture: Women are supposed to wear a hat or scarf whenever leaving the house. Although it is the practice in parts of the Middle East, Pakistani women don't have to cover their entire face.
Women are to wear very loose-fitting clothing, so loose that their shape cannot be distinguished.
"When you go out in public, you don't know what men are thinking. Men may be tempted more than women," he said.
Men are not required to cover themselves like women do because women are trusted to be faithful, Aman Khan said.
Neither men nor women are to gawk at someone of the opposite sex. "It's OK to look at them once, but not twice," Aman Khan said.
Samir (not his real name), a 20-year-old San Joaquin Delta College student, was chosen as a prospective groom because of his character and his family's assets. His parents, in turn agreed to accept Najwa into their family for her good qualities. The two have met and are allowed to see one another in social situations, such as family gatherings, or at school, but they do not date.
"There is no word for dating in our dictionary," Yasmeen said.
Boys and girls do not have this kind of meeting or interaction before marriage; there is no hand-holding, or time spent alone together.
Before marriage, girls are expected to live at home with their mothers, said Yasmeen, not to have an independent life. It is their responsibility to remain at home, and remain chaste.
Girls may marry as young as 16, but most parents prefer them to be more mature, and they should remain at home until the wedding day.
The wedding of Najwa and Samir will take place some time next year. It will be in the traditional style, but nothing like what it would be in their homeland, where a wedding is a joyful occasion celebrated by all the families involved and shared in by the community.
Yasmeen misses this aspect of her culture more than almost any other, she said.
She expects her daughter to stay in America.
"She will not return to Pakistan," she said.
For herself, she appreciates the opportunities life here has brought her. "We are able to send money home, to help those who are less fortunate back in our country, and I am grateful for that."
News-Sentinel staff writer Ross Farrow contributed to this story.
»Pakistanis leave their native land to find Lodi
Terror allegations vanish in affidavit
By Rone Tempest, Greg Krikorian and Lee Romney
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Attorneys for a father and son arrested in Lodi in connection with a broad FBI terrorism probe plan to challenge the government case in court today over significantly differing versions of the affidavit used to charge the two men.
The first version of the affidavit released to media organizations by the Justice Department in Washington said potential terrorist targets included hospitals and groceries, and contained names of key individuals and statements about the international origins of "hundreds" of participants in alleged al-Qaida terrorist training camps in Pakistan.
These details among the most alarming in the case were widely reported in the news media, but then deleted in the final version filed with the federal court in Sacramento on Wednesday. Federal prosecutors blamed the problem on confusion inside the bureaucracy as different versions circulated between federal offices.
"An unfortunate oversight due to miscommunication," said Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra.
Sacramento FBI spokesman John Cauthen said the deletions in the document were made because the original details were "not relevant or not accurate in context" for the purpose of proving a probable cause to arrest Hamid Hayat and his father.
But defense attorney Johnny Griffin III, who represents the father, ice-cream truck driver Umer Hayat, 47, accused the government of "releasing information it knew it could not authenticate."
Attorney Wazhma Mojaddidi, who represents the son, 22-year-old Hamid Hayat, said she plans to bring up the different versions of the affidavit when she represents her client at his arraignment scheduled for this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Nowinski in Sacramento. Both father and son are accused of making false statements to federal officials.
A key deletion, Mojaddidi said, was in a paragraph claiming that Hamid Hayat had said "potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores."
This part of the affidavit from FBI Special Agent Pedro Tenoch Aguilar was one of the most widely repeated in news accounts around the world, leading some terrorism experts to speculate about a significant escalation of al-Qaida strategies against public targets.
"We question how this got out and why this got out," Mojaddidi said.
A federal source close to the investigation said the material about the hospitals and food stores was deleted out of fear that it might "panic the public." The same source said other deletions, including the names of a friend and uncle who allegedly encouraged Hamid Hayat to go to the training camps, occurred because the younger Hayat was the only person to name them.
Former Los Angeles federal prosecutor Jan Handzlik, now in private practice, said the two affidavit versions would probably have no long-term impact on the case, although they could make it difficult for the government to find unbiased jurors.
"The basic problem," said Handzlik, "is that the perception of the defendants in the minds of potential jurors may have been irrevocably affected."
A bigger problem, said Handzlik, may be "in addition to prejudicing the defendants unfairly, this material may also reveal intelligence material that the government did not want to release."
While only the Hayats have been criminally charged in the case, sources familiar with the ongoing investigation said the original focus of the federal inquiry in Lodi was Mohammed Adil Khan, a Pakistani resident who has been detained by immigration officials for alleged visa violations.
Three sources familiar with the investigation said that Khan drew the attention of the FBI nearly three years ago and was eventually monitored by agents after authorities secured a secret warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The sources would not disclose the reason for the original interest in Khan, who is well-regarded in the community and affiliated with the Farooqia Islamic Center in Lodi. Nor would they say if that investigation revealed any wrongdoing. But it was that inquiry, according to the sources, that eventually led to some of this week's arrests.
With indictments in the case expected some time next week, one senior U.S. counterterrorism official said this week that the Lodi case has "echoes" of a recent federal prosecution in Alexandria, Va., where a well-known Muslim cleric was found guilty of inciting his followers to train in overseas camps for attacks against the U.S.
In that case, a federal jury on April 26 found Ali al-Timimi guilty on 10 charges that included urging followers to fight the U.S. But his conviction came after a week's deliberations by a jury and has been controversial because it hinged largely on his remarks just days after the Sept. 11 attacks that followers should join the armed jihad in Afghanistan.
While prosecutors convinced a jury that the comments led several of his followers to attend overseas training camps, al-Timimi's attorneys, who are appealing his conviction, argued that he was being wrongfully prosecuted for rhetoric.
In the Lodi case, authorities so far have alleged only that Hamid Hayat and his father lied about the son's travels to an alleged terrorist training camp in Pakistan.
But in the now-withdrawn FBI affidavit, authorities went into much greater detail, alleging, among other things, that Hayat's grandfather is a close friend of Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Authorities in Pakistan have identified a man by that name as leading an outlawed group of extremists.
Terror Probe in Calif. Town Isn't Over Yet
By DON THOMPSON
The Associated Press
Friday, June 10, 2005; 10:16 AM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Federal authorities aren't saying much about their terrorism investigation in nearby Lodi but are making two things crystal clear: Their work in the farming town has been going on for years _ and it's not over yet. They denied the implication by some members of Lodi's large Pakistani community that the probe was triggered by a rift between fundamentalist and mainstream factions. Each side accused the other of contacting the FBI, which is in charge of the investigation. The dispute has led to a leadership struggle at the Lodi Muslim Mosque and a legal fight with a budding Islamic learning center. "This specific investigation has been going on for several years," FBI spokesman John Cauthen said Thursday. The FBI alleges several people committed to al-Qaida have been operating in and around the tranquil wine-growing region just south of Sacramento. Investigators say Hamid Hayat, 22, trained with al-Qaida in Pakistan and planned to attack hospitals and supermarkets in the United States. He is scheduled to appear in federal court Friday for a bail hearing. Umer Hayat, 47, said his son was drawn to jihadist training camps in his early teenage years while attending a madrassah, or religious school, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, that was operated by Umer Hayat's father-in-law, according to an FBI affidavit. Hayat allegedly paid for his son to attend the terrorist camp in 2003 and 2004. The affidavit says it was run by a friend of his father-in-law's. The Hayats are charged only with lying to federal investigators. Two Islamic religious leaders, or imams, and one leader's son also have been detained on immigration violations. Neither Cauthen nor a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would reveal specifics of the alleged visa violations. Saad Ahmad, an attorney for the three men, did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday seeking comment. The sequence that led to the arrests and detentions began May 29, when Hamid Hayat was trying to return to the U.S. but was identified in mid-flight as being on the federal "no-fly" list. His plane was diverted to Japan, where Hayat was interviewed by the FBI and denied any connection to terrorism. He was allowed to fly to California, but was interviewed again last weekend. He and his father were charged after he flunked a lie detector test and then admitted attending the training camp, the affidavit said. The Hayats and the imams are on opposite sides of a struggle between Pakistani factions in and around Lodi: The Hayats are aligned with a faction supporting more traditional Islamic values; the imams with another group seeking greater cooperation and understanding from the larger community. Adil Khan was trying to start an Islamic center but has been sued by the Lodi Muslim Mosque, which claims he improperly transferred mosque property. "It may well be that some of this is gamesmanship," said attorney Gary Nelson, who represents Khan in the civil lawsuit. "But we are talking about the FBI and INS, and they don't do this lightly. At least I hope they don't." Lawyers for the Hayats are questioning why the FBI changed the affidavit. They maintain that copies released in Washington and Sacramento are significantly different. The Washington version, released first, said Hamid Hayat chose to carry out his "jihadi mission" in the United States and potential targets included "hospitals and large food stores." The reference to the targets was dropped in a later version filed in federal court in Sacramento. Hamid Hayat's attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi, said that revision "strikes us as an odd turnabout." Umer Hayat's attorney, Johnny Griffin III, said he was irritated that the government made public the references to hospitals and supermarkets, and then filed something different with the court. Cauthen described the changes as routine revisions. Authorities said they had no indication of specific plans or timetables for an attack. "There is no specific information about hospitals and food stores," he said. "They didn't stand out above other sectors of the infrastructure. This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/670
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Federal authorities aren't saying much about their terrorism investigation in nearby Lodi but are making two things crystal clear: Their work in the farming town has been going on for years _ and it's not over yet.
They denied the implication by some members of Lodi's large Pakistani community that the probe was triggered by a rift between fundamentalist and mainstream factions.
Each side accused the other of contacting the FBI, which is in charge of the investigation. The dispute has led to a leadership struggle at the Lodi Muslim Mosque and a legal fight with a budding Islamic learning center.
"This specific investigation has been going on for several years," FBI spokesman John Cauthen said Thursday.
The FBI alleges several people committed to al-Qaida have been operating in and around the tranquil wine-growing region just south of Sacramento.
Investigators say Hamid Hayat, 22, trained with al-Qaida in Pakistan and planned to attack hospitals and supermarkets in the United States. He is scheduled to appear in federal court Friday for a bail hearing.
Umer Hayat, 47, said his son was drawn to jihadist training camps in his early teenage years while attending a madrassah, or religious school, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, that was operated by Umer Hayat's father-in-law, according to an FBI affidavit.
Hayat allegedly paid for his son to attend the terrorist camp in 2003 and 2004. The affidavit says it was run by a friend of his father-in-law's.
The Hayats are charged only with lying to federal investigators.
Two Islamic religious leaders, or imams, and one leader's son also have been detained on immigration violations. Neither Cauthen nor a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would reveal specifics of the alleged visa violations.
Saad Ahmad, an attorney for the three men, did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday seeking comment.
The sequence that led to the arrests and detentions began May 29, when Hamid Hayat was trying to return to the U.S. but was identified in mid-flight as being on the federal "no-fly" list. His plane was diverted to Japan, where Hayat was interviewed by the FBI and denied any connection to terrorism.
He was allowed to fly to California, but was interviewed again last weekend. He and his father were charged after he flunked a lie detector test and then admitted attending the training camp, the affidavit said.
The Hayats and the imams are on opposite sides of a struggle between Pakistani factions in and around Lodi: The Hayats are aligned with a faction supporting more traditional Islamic values; the imams with another group seeking greater cooperation and understanding from the larger community.
Adil Khan was trying to start an Islamic center but has been sued by the Lodi Muslim Mosque, which claims he improperly transferred mosque property.
"It may well be that some of this is gamesmanship," said attorney Gary Nelson, who represents Khan in the civil lawsuit. "But we are talking about the FBI and INS, and they don't do this lightly. At least I hope they don't."
Lawyers for the Hayats are questioning why the FBI changed the affidavit. They maintain that copies released in Washington and Sacramento are significantly different.
The Washington version, released first, said Hamid Hayat chose to carry out his "jihadi mission" in the United States and potential targets included "hospitals and large food stores." The reference to the targets was dropped in a later version filed in federal court in Sacramento.
Hamid Hayat's attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi, said that revision "strikes us as an odd turnabout."
Umer Hayat's attorney, Johnny Griffin III, said he was irritated that the government made public the references to hospitals and supermarkets, and then filed something different with the court.
Cauthen described the changes as routine revisions. Authorities said they had no indication of specific plans or timetables for an attack.
"There is no specific information about hospitals and food stores," he said. "They didn't stand out above other sectors of the infrastructure.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/670