The 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.
Qatanani came to the U.S. from Jordan. He was born in Judea-Samaria and said that he was detained by Israeli officials while visiting there in 1993.
Federal officials say that he didn’t disclose being convicted in Israel for being a Hamas terrorist, but Qatanani denies that he was ever part of the group classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
He says that he was only detained like many others at the time and was never told that he was convicted of anything.
His brother-in-law was a senior Hamas terrorist eliminated by the IDF, 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.