A former Austin imam whose interfaith work made him one of the most recognized Muslim leaders in Central Texas is being held at a Dallas detention facility and faces deportation to Pakistan, according to his attorney and family.

Imam Safdar Razi, who led the Northwest Austin Shiite mosque the Islamic Ahlul Bayt Association for six years, has been detained by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency since Wednesday, said Karen Pennington, an immigration lawyer in Dallas who is representing Razi.

Razi’s wife, Safiya Razi, said her husband was taken into custody at their home in Plano on Wednesday morning.

Pennington said she is not sure why Razi was being held by the immigration agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While in detention, he was issued a notice to appear for removal proceedings, essentially a hearing for deportation, Pennington said.

Razi has lived in the United States since 2000, Pennington said, and moved his family here from Qatar.

He is seeking political asylum in the United States because his religious worker visa was turned down, Pennington said.


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