Prosecutors say indicted Fla. cleric was dedicated financier of violent Pakistani Taliban

MIAMI — Despite a frail and pious appearance, a South Florida Muslim cleric was a dedicated financier of the violent Pakistani Taliban who disliked the “wretched” U.S. and sought the overthrow of Pakistan’s government, a federal prosecutor said in court Monday.

Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, directed how thousands of dollars were to be distributed to militant fighters “down to the dollar” and maintained at least three bank accounts in Pakistan to accept the funds, said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Shipley. More than $200,000 has been deposited in those accounts since 2005, he added, although not all the money is linked to terrorism.

Shipley laid out more details of the case against Khan, his sons Izhar Khan, 24, and 37-year-old Irfan Khan, and three other suspects at a bail hearing. U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Garber ordered Hafiz Khan and Izhar Khan held without bail, agreeing with prosecutors that both present a danger to the community and are at risk of fleeing the country.

Attorneys for Hafiz and Izhar Khan argued that both deserved release on bail, contending that conversations recorded by the FBI could amount to little more than political ranting and that they sent the money to relatives in Pakistan as millions of other immigrants do every day.

Florida Muslim detained after being acquitted of charges, CAIR seeks release

On Tuesday, April 7, the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a news conference to call for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release former USF student Youssef Megahed.

In April 2007 Megahed, along with Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested for allegedly having explosives in the trunk of his car. Mohamed pleaded guilty last Friday to the charges and is serving a 15-year prison sentence, while Megahed was acquitted and freed from custody.

ICE took Megamed back into custody while he was shopping with his father at a local Wal-Mart. They have accused him of “civil violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act” and have placed him in deportation proceedings. He must present his case to an immigration judge to be freed from the charges.