A defense expert for Fawaz Damra says the indicted imam did not try to
incite violence in the early 1990s when he screamed at fund-raisers to
destroy Jews.

Instead, Damra simply wanted to support the resistance to Israel’s
occupation of land claimed by Palestinians, the expert said.

Scott Alexander’s testimony provided the first hint Monday of Damra’s
defense to charges of lying on his immigration forms because of his past
ties to terrorism. Damra is to go on trial next week in a case that appears
to focus on several tapes made of his speeches.

If convicted, the leader of the Islamic Center of Greater Cleveland could
face a maximum of five years in prison and deportation.

Federal prosecutors James Moroney and Cherie Krigsman say the videos that
captured Damra’s words show he was a radical Islamic militant who sought
donors for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad before he obtained citizenship in
April 1994.

Alexander, a Chicago researcher in Mideast studies, disagrees. A judge will
decide whether his testimony will be permitted at trial..


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