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Join Fight Against Deportation of Imam Mohammad Qatanani

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Sister Bint Ali sent us this document about Imam Qatanani, who has become yet another victim of Israel’s strong influence in this country. We should all support our Imams and our scholars in these times of fitnah. It doesn’t matter whether or not this Shaykh or that Shaykh is 100% inline with our individual methodologies. We have to recognize these dua’at for the work they are doing, and for what our communities will lose if they leave. There are specific actions below that you can take in order to join this fight against injustice. -Amad

imam-qatanani.jpg“I’ve seen with my own eyes a gentleman who’s had a tremendous positive influence in the community…he’s done nothing but good since he’s been in the US and many of us are ready to stand up and go to court to testify about him if need be.”

Bill Pascrell, US Congressman for NJ, referring to Dr. Imam Mohammad Qatanani

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A Scholar in our Midst
Born in Palestine, Imam Dr. Imam Mohammad Qatanani immigrated to America in 1996 with his family. With a doctorate in Islamic Shariah, internationally known for specializing in Minority Fiqh, two ijazahs, and numerous of other impressive credentials, he was well qualified to lead the town of Paterson, home to the second largest population of Muslims in America.
Indeed, he had a colossal task awaiting him. Nevertheless, he confronted the issues of the community head-on, executing his duties with unsurpassed excellence. Whether it was the daily classes or even just the simple short talks after Fajr and Isha, his massive amount of knowledge left the audience gaping in awe. Truly, knowledge elevates the status of its carriers.

A Beacon of Inspiration
If his classes were in Arabic, he would make sure that a translator would be there to simultaneously translate his words into English for the countless non-Arabic speakers who also frequented the masjid. Furthermore, he paid special attention to those new to the faith, fostering bonds of love and companionship. In addition, he realized the importance of safe guarding the youth, for he wistfully saw in them the leaders of tomorrow. This led to the birth of new attractive programs, and as a youth, I can tell you that they were the most amazing and awesome programs I have ever been involved in.
Just briefly, for one particular two-month summer program, all participants were divided into teams of about eleven kids, and basically the teams had to attend all the summer events and pray each salah in the masjid to gain points. The programs were separate for boys and girls and included horseback riding, swimming, workshops about CPR training, memorizing Quran, deep sea fishing, sewing, gardening, how-to-give Dawah workshops, sports, soup kitchens, masjid cleanup and construction, boys giving short talks after salah, and so much more. And at the end, the top five teams and every single one of their eleven members received lavish prizes such as IPod Videos, portable DVD players, Sharper Image Massage chairs, mountain bikes, and digital cameras. And this was only a two month program; throughout the year, they organized even more amazing events to entice the youth to come to the masjid.
In addition to the youth, Imam Qatanani focused on fostering stronger bonds between Muslims, regardless of their ethnicities. He never looked down at others from different backgrounds in contempt nor encouraged others to do so.
On the contrary, he would often strongly encourage the congregants to establish personal relationships with one another; to go beyond the simple “Assalam Alaikum, how are you”. The number of times he dedicated his daily talks for this purpose is countless. I personally made numerous lasting friendships due to his urging advice. And all of this happened over 12 years because of the unwavering diligence of one man. His efforts are beyond dazzling. Masha Allah

A Call for Tolerance
His unparalleled enthusiasm in educating the masses about the true essence of Islam sparked others to join him in this noble endeavor. Interfaith dialogue and open houses about Islam became extremely popular, and both Muslims and non-Muslims emerged from such events with stronger bonds of communication, understanding, and respect amongst one another. Christians, Jews, and Muslims sat next to one another, dining and exchanging realizations of the numerous similarities and healthy differences.
Additionally, prominent politicians, congressmen, law enforcement figures, sheriffs, and elected officials flocked to the Islamic center as per invitation of Imam Qatanani. This was a crucial step by him, all in efforts to increase understanding and tolerance. The mysterious haze surrounding Muslims suddenly began to clear up, and after the initial nervous step, many attendees soon became sincere friends of Imam Qatanani and ultimately of the Muslim community.

A New Home
Eying the unfinished work and the promising future that stood for his family, Imam Qatanani settled more comfortably in the country he began to love. He applied for permanent residency, but his application was rejected. And now he and his family face deportation. A man whose work has sent ripples of encouragement throughout even the national community is being forced to abandon the life he had worked so hard to build for the last 12 years.
The mere complaint is an unjust detainment by the Israelis in 1993 during a visit to his family in Palestine. Many other Palestinians like him were unjustly detained for no crime because this was a common practice by the Israelis whenever political turmoil arose in the area. Soon, he was released without any charges or any court summons.
The denial by the immigration officials has left the Imam and his family in a puzzling residency dilemma. Because of this, Ahmad, his eldest son, has been denied scholarship to an honors college medical program. In addition, neither the Imam nor his wife has been able to renew their drivers’ licenses for the past three years. From trips to school or even simple grocery shopping, the family has had to lean on community members to lend a helping hand. One particular night, his youngest daughter became very sick late at night. So he carried her and walked on foot all the way to the nearest hospital for the emergency room.

Friends till the End
Pained by Imam Qatanani’s situation and unwilling to let him go from the community, friends and colleagues started the Americans for Qatanani, a grass-roots coalition separate from the legal team. Within only a few weeks, Americans for Qatanani has raised over $100,000 for the effort and sent out petitions with over 2,000 signatures, and they show no signs of stopping. A recently launched website will also collect more signatures and donations from all across the globe. In addition, Americans for Qatanani plans on hosting rallies outside the court on the days of the proceedings, May 8, 9, and 12.
It breaks my heart to imagine life without the Imam, who is more than just an Imam. He’s the role model of the community, a treasure chest of knowledge, the one whom they asked for advice, the one through whom Allah had united the people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I have yet to see someone so influential, so eloquent, so patient, so compassionate, so amazing in all respects. We as a nation cannot afford to lose Imam Qatanani.

So, will you stand by him? Here’s what YOU can do to help:

  1. Visit www.americans4qatanani.org and sign up for the mailing list. While you’re there, read up more about Imam Qatanani and see actual pictures of him and his work.
  2. Sign the petition here. Over 500 people have signed; when will you?
  3. Sign this petition at americans4qatanani.org and we will print it and mail it out for you.
    *please be sure to sign both petitions.*
  4. Talk to others about the case and increase awareness.
  5. Attend the rally (Newark, NJ, USA on May 8,9, and 12)
  6. Make Du’a

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. iMuslim

    April 2, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    May Allah grant His Mercy to the Imam and his family, and his community.

    Can non-US folks help out in any way? Other than the all important aadiya, of course.

  2. Malik

    April 2, 2008 at 11:08 AM

    Here are the facts-

    Dr. Qatanani is being deported for lying about his 1993 conviction for assiting Hamas. It doesn’t matter if he did what he was convicted for, he lied about it and for that the procedure is deportation.

    So logically, he must go and you must (to be consistent) support his deportation.


    edited-mm
    P.S. Malik, you better watch your tone, this is not LGF.

  3. Dawud

    April 2, 2008 at 11:49 AM

    Link 3. needs to be fixed

  4. theManOfFewWords

    April 2, 2008 at 12:42 PM

    Subhanallah, I was about to actually alert the MM crew about this but apparently a sister has beaten me to it.

    I would like to add Imam Qatanani brought together a diverse community of Arabs, African Americans and Pakistanis in the type of harmony that represents true Islam.

    Furthermore, Imam Qatanani is tireless in his service to the community helping with all matters large and small as well as conducting regular classes in Arabic and Islamic studies.

    His relationship with the wider community through politcial and interfaith activities has lead to greater understanding about Islam.

    The combination of the growing influence of the Muslim community in the community and Imam Qatanani’s courageous criticism of the Iraq war and the occupation of Palestine is truly why he is being targeted.

    May ALLAH protect him and his family.

    Losing him will

  5. Amad

    April 2, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    Malik, actually the only fact is that this is Israel Lobby’s power at display. The fact that a conviction in a foreign nation 15 years ago is even relevant is amazing.

    Also, you need to get the rest of your facts straight. You can ONLY lie about something that you know of. The only liars are the Israeli terrorists. For them every Palestinian is a problem. And that means make sure they don’t get residence/citizenship in America to influence the future direction of unchecked and unmitigated support for Israel’s terrorism.:

    Source

    Qatanani’s lawyer said his problems arise from when he was detained in Israel in the mid-1990s. He was convicted in absentia with helping Hamas militants.
    Qatanani said he merely helped some students find housing in Jordan so they could attend college.
    He said he didn’t find out about the conviction until his citizenship efforts were denied in the U.S. last year.

  6. Peaches

    April 2, 2008 at 12:51 PM

    Even though I ‘m not familiar with his name, he sounds like a great, a great imam. A man of god.

  7. ibnabeeomar

    April 2, 2008 at 12:54 PM

    malik – i know nothing about the qatanani case except what is posted above, and it took me all of 15 seconds in google to find that your “facts” are illusions,

    [wcbstv]

    “Slovinsky said Qatanani answered to the best of his knowledge when he said in his immigration application that he’d never been arrested or convicted in connection with a crime.

    And, questioned in the last few years by FBI, immigration and other government authorities, Qatanani had mentioned the detention, she said.”

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/immigration/Muslim_faces_deportation.html?c=y&page=2

  8. Nadia

    April 2, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    Wow mashallah we need more leaders like Imam Qatanani in the U.S. and they want to get rid of him?! Big big mistake.
    May Allah protect him and his family and make him a catalyst for change in our ummah.

  9. naseer08

    April 2, 2008 at 2:48 PM

    I read in a new york newspaper the imam was so nice he even opened a part of his mosque for the FBI to recruit.

    I mean I understand building bridges, reporting actual terrorist activity ect.

    But opening the mosque for the FBI to recruit?

  10. naseer08

    April 2, 2008 at 2:50 PM

    btw, this was written in the Islamic Newspaper that was distributed at last weekends Ilmfest. So no one will accuse me of making this up

  11. naseer08

    April 2, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    Here is the article where it’s mentioned.

    http://qatanani.com/site/content/view/24/54/

    I mean I understand asking people to report terrorist activity. But it’s something else to join the ranks of the FBI and monitor every word of other muslims.

  12. Solomon2

    April 2, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    The “Israeli lobby” simply doesn’t have the kind of power attributed to it here. Note the lack of supporting information for the assertion. I resent having to take time out to denounce what appears to be a self-serving lie. Even worse, if the Imam’s cause really is just, this anti-Israel, anti-Jewish calumny simply detracts from it.

  13. ibnabeeomar

    April 2, 2008 at 4:02 PM

    as i said in another thread, what happened to making excuses for ppl, come on :)

    just looking over the history of what this guy has gone through, i do not at all see it to be a far stretch at all to say he could have been strong armed into allowing something like that. actually, its very plausible.

    its easy for us to sit on the sidelines and say something, but its different when you are in the hotseat having to make decisions, esp with all these external factors put into it.

  14. Amad

    April 2, 2008 at 5:13 PM

    Of course Solomon, the Lobby is just an uninvolved, unmalicious 300 lb gorilla. Maybe like King Kong? Really kind at heart ;)

    So, tell me, how did all the Israeli info get into American systems? A simple arrest, when Israel arrests thousands every month, find its way into a simple immigration matter? How do Israeli intelligence members suddenly become so available for American trials? Who’s keeping tabs on all this for Israel?

    Please take your indignation somewhere it will be believed. Israel’s involvement in this country in actively working against Muslim affairs is well understood. When time permits, I will be sharing another story where the Israeli Embassy itself was involved in trying to stop a mosque from being built!! Talk about unmitigated foreign interference.

  15. Solomon2

    April 2, 2008 at 5:32 PM

    Amad, in the final analysis America is a country where rule-of-law prevails, not rule-by-law. You can do the research and answer the questions yourself. Why should the question of whether or not I am believed have anything to do with objective truth whatsoever?

    When Muslims go about throwing charges wildly they discredit themselves as well as any others they purport to advocate. Look at how quickly you have changed the subject from deportation and a side-swipe against Israel (covered in the article) to red herrings that have nothing to do with it! And you are asking people to commit themselves politically and morally on the basis of unsupported assertions. Why shouldn’t any observer, Muslim or not, conclude that you have thus suppressed the ability to examine your own thinking critically, and are asking others to do the same?

  16. A Yunus

    April 2, 2008 at 6:35 PM

    My husband who is a revert basically has met this Imam once. I could not recall when and where. He has great respect for him and is really feeling bad about the things that are going on around him now. Knowing my husband and his heart I can vouch for the honesty of this Imam. And I pray that Allah Almighty makes it easy for the Imam and his family. May Allah shelter them and enable them to outcome those false accusations.AAMEEN. May Allah protect our shuyookhs and Aalmis from the traps of zionists.Aameen. Thumma AAMEEN.

  17. theManOfFewWords

    April 2, 2008 at 10:16 PM

    Solomon2,

    did you just make anti-Zionism out to be anti-Israeli and then equate anti-Israeli sentiment with antisemitism?

    How disingenuous of you.

    Amad, don’t waste your time on this guy.

    Keep in mind what the great Winston Churchill once said, “Solomon2 is a great big duphus!”

    I am sure you can appreciate that bit of wisdom.

    -edited, no personal attacks

  18. Manas Shaikh

    April 3, 2008 at 3:49 AM

    iMuslim

    We better remain inactive (except for, perhaps raising awareness) for the time being. Otherwise this may become external influence.

    In case the internal effort fails, we may try to help.

    But they will succeed, IA.

  19. theManOfFewWords

    April 3, 2008 at 8:32 AM

    to whoever edited my last comment,

    One man’s personal attack is another man’s darn good advice. Here I am giving a fellow free therapy and you deny him of it.

    It was just some tough love, your prudishness is hurting others, i want you to think about that next time you try and edit something.

  20. Samireye

    April 3, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    This Shaykh is one of the best in our community, his short talks are amazing and he has amazing akhlaaq. May Allah (SWT) protect him.

  21. abu abdurrahman

    April 3, 2008 at 9:25 AM

    Though I lived not too far away from his Masjid, unfortunately, I didn’t listen to too many of his lectures since they were in Arabic. Anyway, I knew his son and he was one of the few Muslims teenagers(of the hundreds I knew) who was really into Islam and had a religious family to back him up.

    May Allah(SWT) protect him and his family and give them the best in this World and the HereAfter.

  22. Uthman Effendi

    April 3, 2008 at 2:10 PM

    “The “Israeli lobby” simply doesn’t have the kind of power attributed to it here.”

    Right. I am yet to find a person outside the extreme right-wing bunch who actually believes this.

  23. theManOfFewWords

    April 3, 2008 at 6:32 PM

    You know there is another case that I would like Muslimmatters to raise awareness of, it’s the case of Sami al-Arian who is unjustly being imprisoned indefinitely as it would seem.

    The Lobby’s fingerprints are all over this one too as his growing influence and outspokenness on the issue of Palestine where making the lobby nervous.

  24. Amad

    April 3, 2008 at 7:04 PM

    salam… we plan on doing something on Dr. Arian inshallah.

  25. Alex

    April 4, 2008 at 4:12 AM

    Salaam ‘alaikum,

    For what it’s worth, Sh. Qatanani is the Imam of my masjid, but he’s no average majsid Imam.
    He’s a real scholar, with deep knowledge AND taqwa. Every sheikh I know has mentioned that it is a blessing to our community that we have someone of his caliber with us.
    In addition, he is, by Allah’s permission, a truly gifted community leader.

    Please do support the efforts to obtain justice for him in whatever way you can.

  26. Pingback: Join Fight Against Deportation of Imam Mohammad Qatanani « أندلس

  27. Abusalama

    April 4, 2008 at 10:55 PM

    Imam Qatanani is probably the BEST person I have ever met in my life time. I say so from my heart. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 11 years, In India for 3 years, in Malaysia for 8 years, in NJ for 3 years, and now in FL for the past 4 years and I have yet to meet somebody as pious, knowledgeable, and inspiring as Imam Qatanani. It will be a great disservice to this nation for this man to be deported.

  28. Abusalama

    April 4, 2008 at 11:05 PM

    To Solomon2, you talk about the “rule-of-law”? it is amazing that this country is willing to even consider putting all the illegals in this country on a path to citizenship. WoW. To illegals who clearly broke the law in broad day light and are now talking about deporting Imam Qatanani on a technicality. Ah btw, now I know where the PATRIOT ACT was inspired from. Obviously they learned from the best.

  29. Ishrat Rahman

    April 5, 2008 at 12:02 PM

    May Allah protect him from evil. He loves people and has great knowledge of Quran. His teachings are un bias and I respect him.
    If Allah will, no one can harm him and if Allah wants to test him, we should make Duaa for him. Duaa is the best tool we, Muslims have.

    Ameen

    • EMMANUEL

      September 22, 2012 at 8:27 AM

      He’s going to hell like all you muslim pricks. You are enemies to all the races in America who hate your cult of ISLAM, the religion for murderrers and goat molesters. Go shove allah up your ass!

  30. Solomon2

    April 6, 2008 at 11:04 AM

    Abusalama, was that supposed to be a criticism? You have pointed out that illegals are in the U.S. and there is a debate about whether to change the law or enforce it. You have also claimed that Qatanani is being deported, but on a different charge. Equating the two is a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid fallacy.

  31. theManOfFewWords

    April 6, 2008 at 4:45 PM

    Let me rephrase what solomon2 just said:

    “You are wrong and I am smarter than you because I can use really long obscure Latin phrases to make my point.”

  32. ibn insaan

    April 6, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    May be what brother Abusalama was trying to allude to was that he finds it amusing, indeed somewhat surprising that an administration that has itself so deep into illegality itself (at an international level) can then feel so comfortable going about uprooting people from what has now become their home, simply on a technical breach of law, allegedly! And that too, perhaps, on request from a nation that has hundreds of international charters broken and contravened.

    The irony of it being, as far as we are concerned, that such miscalculation can only backfire against us as a nation..when we uproot the callers of good and tolerance, who are we leaving the rest to?

  33. AbuAbdAllah

    April 8, 2008 at 3:18 AM

    bismillah. i think it is important to oppose the deportation and to publicize this case even if what the government has done turns out to be completely 100% according to the letter of the law.

    why? because it is an unjust law. either it is unjust in its letter, or it is unjust in its application to this case. but what kind of person are you if you do not speak out in favor of justice and against injustice? in favor of maarouf and against munkar?

    may Allah give the shaykh and his family the best of outcomes in this life, and in the Hereafter. if he has to leave his community here, then may Allah give him and them better than what they had.

  34. bint3li

    April 14, 2008 at 9:54 PM

    Jazakum Allahu Khairun for everyone who showed their support for Imam Qatanani here. May Allah guide all of us to that which is right. Ameen

    I just wanted to let you all know that Americans for Qatanani just released a very touching short documentary about the case. You can view it here: http://americans4qatanani.org/

  35. Pingback: Rally for Imam Qatanani: Today, Tomorrow & Monday (Thu, Fri & Mon) | MuslimMatters.org

  36. Pingback: Imam Qatanani’s story in NY Times | MuslimMatters.org

  37. Pingback: Imam Qatanani’s story in NY Times | MuslimMatters.org

  38. Pingback: Imam Qatanani’s story in NY Times | MuslimMatters.org

  39. Pingback: Imam Qatanani: Another Civil Rights Victory | MuslimMatters.org

  40. adam

    April 2, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    This Imam was born in an area which is occupied by Israel so of course it would make sense for immigration to check with the country he immigrated from if he had any arrests in that country. This would be the case with any other country.if they were immigrated from that country. To say otherwise is to claim that other country has no right to their own justice system which why don’t the people say this here. They don’t believe Israel has a right to exist or a right to a justice system and something for anyone in any county somehow when Israel does it that isn’t ok.

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