Well, they got Capone on tax evasion. “Arlington imam, wife accused of marriage fraud,” by Jason Trahan for The Dallas Morning News, October 19 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A prominent Islamic scholar who has battled accusations of extremist beliefs has been arrested along with his wife on federal charges that they married other people to get U.S. citizenship.
Ibrahim Abdelrahman Dremali and Safaa Rashad Eissa were arrested by immigration agents, Arlington police and the FBI on Oct. 6 on a warrant out of Des Moines, Iowa. They were released on their own recognizance after appearing before a federal judge in Fort Worth the same day.
They are scheduled to enter pleas Nov. 12 in Iowa on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which can carry a five-year sentence, and procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully, which can result in 10 to 25 years in prison.
Dremali, who earned degrees in geology and Islamic law in Cairo, immigrated to the U.S. in 1989 and has served as an imam, or Muslim spiritual leader, in south Florida, Iowa and Austin and worked at Islamic schools.
This summer, he and his wife moved to a house on Virginia Lane near the Islamic Society of Arlington, where he helped lead a local Islamic school….
Reached by phone this past week in Arlington, Dremali said he was too sick to talk. He was originally supposed to report to court Wednesday in Des Moines. His attorney, Alfredo Parrish, sought a delay because doctors treating Dremali, who has hepatitis C and is awaiting a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, said he cannot travel….
After Dremali emigrated to the U.S., he co-founded the Islamic Center of Boca Raton in 1998. In 2000, the Gaza native, participated in a pro-Palestinian rally in Miami that featured the burning of Israeli flags and a mock funeral for Palestinians killed in the Israeli conflict. According to a published report, Dremali told the crowd “not to be sad for those who were martyred, and to not be afraid to die for what they believe in.”
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Dremali denied making the statement amid criticism from conservative bloggers about his role in the rally and other associations.
In 2002, Adham Hassoun, a Palestinian activist and computer programmer in Florida, was detained on immigration charges. Dremali was one of four people called to speak about Hassoun’s “peaceful and generous character” at a hearing, a court record shows.
Hassoun attended the same Fort Lauderdale mosque as Jose Padilla and was thought to have helped convert him to Islam. Padilla was later accused of planning a dirty bomb attack in the U.S., but authorities ultimately convicted him, and Hassoun, of coordinating aid to al-Qaeda.
Ties to terrorists?
Dremali later said he barely knew Hassoun.
“You can judge a person by the company they keep,” wrote Joe Kaufman, a conservative activist in southern Florida, in one of several blog posts accusing Dremali of being a radical Islamist. “Will our government sit back and let things happen, or will it begin to take action, so that the next 9/11 never becomes reality?”
Last week, Kaufman said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News that he is not surprised to hear of Dremali’s arrest. “Regardless if they prosecute him on terrorism or immigration, I think it’s a good thing to take him off the streets,” he said.
Kaufman has also highlighted a more than $16,000 donation by Dremali’s Islamic Center of Boca Raton to the Global Relief Foundation, one of several Muslim charities shut down by the Bush administration for funding international terrorism.
Dremali has said that he did not know Global Relief had terrorist ties when the donation was made….