McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

March 5, 2013

Miami imam convicted of Taliban-related terror charges

MIAMI — A Miami imam was found guilty Monday on four terror-related charges.

For two months, federal prosecutors portrayed Miami imam Hafiz Khan in the worst possible light: terrorist sympathizer, Taliban supporter and pathological liar.

"His whole defense is a lie," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Shipley told 12 jurors last week during closing arguments.

The 77-year-old Khan, with his hunched shoulders and flowing white beard, testified that he sent about $50,000 to Pakistan to help a religious school, the poor and his extended family overseas _ not to arm Taliban militants bent on killing Americans and Pakistanis.

"This is America, folks," his attorney, Khurrum Wahid, said during closings. "You don't have to accept what the government tells you."

On Tuesday, jurors began deliberating the fate of Khan, the former Muslim cleric at the Flagler Mosque in Miami. Khan, who was arrested along other family members in May 2011, has stood trial on four counts of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and to a foreign terrorist organization, as well as providing actual support in both conspiracies.

The jury verdict was announced on Monday morning.

Each count _ built upon evidence of FBI-recorded phone conversations, a wired informant and bank transactions between 2008 and 2010 _ carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The prosecution's case has had its share of setbacks. U.S. District Judge Robert Scola found the evidence against Khan appeared "overwhelming" when he rejected the defendant's bid for an acquittal at the end of trial. But the judge also had ruled midway through the trial that the government's case against Khan's son, Izhar Khan, a Broward County imam, lacked evidence and threw it out.

Moreover, last summer prosecutors dropped the charges against another of Khan's sons, Irfan, a Miami cab driver, without explanation.

Both brothers, along with another sibling, Ikram Khan, also a cab driver, attended the closing arguments Tuesday with other supporters from the elderly imam's mosque.

The case ultimately came down to whether jurors believed Hafiz Khan, who was often evasive, unresponsive and rambling on the witness stand during four days of testimony last week.

Khan testified that he lied about his ostensible support for the Pakistani Taliban because he wanted to obtain $1 million from a purported Taliban sympathizer _ who was actually an FBI informant _ to help innocent victims of war in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border.

Khan, who was unaware his conversations were being recorded, said he wished Americans would die in pursuit of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and that terrorists would destroy the Pakistan government. He was also recorded praising the 2010 Taliban-linked Times Square bombing attempt in New York City.

But on the witness stand, Khan testified his recorded statements were "all lies," meant to curry favor with the FBI informant, known as Mahmood Siddiqui, who was paid $126,000 by the federal government for his undercover work in South Florida and Pakistan. Siddiqui had promised Khan the money to help poor victims of the war between the Taliban and Pakistan.

"There are many times I am agreeing with him, but that does not mean that I mean it," Khan testified.

However, Shipley pointed out that Khan made similar comments to friends and relatives in other telephone conversations that also were intercepted by the FBI.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
National News
  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • 5 Things to Know Taxe_Brac.jpg Tax Deadline!

    The deadline for filing taxes is midnight Today, Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don't blame voters for low turnout

    Suppose nobody votes this year. On Nov. 4 the doors to the polling places are thrown open, and there isn't anyone in line. No absentee ballots are filed. No one litigates, charging either fraud or discrimination, because there weren't any voters.
    It won't happen. But if it did, pundits and activists would surely blame public apathy for such a catastrophe. I'd name a different culprit: the major parties, their candidates and their acolytes in the news media.

    April 7, 2014

  • Starbucks to expand evening alcohol sales to thousands of stores

    Starbucks will expand its evening alcohol and light bites menu, which includes bacon-wrapped dates and Malbec wine, to thousands of stores, Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said in a phone interview. The rollout, which can help boost sales, will take several years, he said.

    March 25, 2014

  • news_clinton.jpg Americans in poll don't believe Christie or Clinton

    Americans aren't buying the explanations offered by Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton about controversies that could stand between them and the White House if either runs for president in 2016.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_google.jpg First Apple, now Google hit with kids' app lawsuit

    Last month, 4- and 5-year-old brothers in New York quickly spent $65.95 in real money to buy virtual goods in Marvel's Run Jump Splash game on the family tablet. They were able to rack up the charges without entering a password. And for that, the boys' mother has joined a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday against Google, accusing the company of deceiving consumers about its in-app purchase system, which critics say makes it too easy for kids to spend money on their Android devices.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: First month of Colorado pot legalization brought in $2M in tax revenue

    The first month of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado brought in about $2 million in tax revenue, the first indicator of the earning potential of the U.S.’s premier legal pot market.

    March 13, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 10.07.38 AM.png VIDEO: Wild car chase in Denver

    Denver police apprehended a man who led them on a wild chase in three different stolen cars Wednesday after a four-year-old boy was reportedly kidnapped from a gas station.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • How virus sleuths and public health officials track the cause of a mysterious illness

    When a mysterious disease fells people - as happened in California recently, with as many as 20 children experiencing unexplained paralysis - teams of physicians and epidemiologists quickly mobilize. Perhaps you saw the movie "Contagion"? The idea is to find the culprit before it spreads but also to prevent public panic.

    March 13, 2014

  • ERIC-HOLDER.jpg Holder: Heroin deaths an 'urgent and growing public health crisis'

    Attorney General Eric Holder, calling the rise in deaths from overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers an "urgent and growing public health crisis," is outlining a series of efforts by the Justice Department to combat the epidemic.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.