Charges weigh on imam, backers – Local support for Masood remains strong, says rabbi

Facing criminal charges stemming from allegations of immigration fraud, Imam Muhammad Masood – the public face of the New England Center of Islam in Sharon – finds himself in an increasingly difficult position, and could face deportation. Masood was arrested in a sweep by immigration enforcement officers almost a year ago, losing his position as the center’s imam, his income, and his right to work for money in the United States because the charges stripped him of legal immigration status…

Mosque leader accused of immigration fraud: Imam’s arrest sparks protest outside court

By Shelley Murphy The spiritual leader of a mosque in Sharon was arrested yesterday on federal immigration fraud charges, sparking a protest outside the courthouse in Boston by a group of religious leaders and civil rights advocates who called the case a witch hunt. Muhammad Masood, 49, imam of the 1,500 member Islamic Center of New England, is accused of lying repeatedly to federal immigration officials between 2002 and 2006 in a bid to obtain a green card and ultimately become a US citizen. The criminal charges follow administrative charges brought by immigration officials last year. That case also drew wide protest from local Muslim leaders, who have accused authorities of ignoring efforts to smooth relations with members of various cultures…