Islamic, Jewish Communities to Watch Imam’s Trial Closely


The Islamic and Jewish communities will be watching the trial of an Islamic cleric charged with lying about alleged terrorist ties when he applied for U.S. citizenship.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations will be alert to any sign of ethnic stereotyping, said spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

"Of course we're concerned that all of his due process is maintained and evidence be free of religious or ethnic stereotyping," Hooper said.

The federal trial is to begin Tuesday in Akron for Imam Fawaz Damra, 41, who leads the Islamic Center of Cleveland, Ohio's largest mosque community. He could face up to five years in prison and deportation if convicted.

"We're always concerned when prominent leaders of the American Islamic community are charged, or detained or harassed," Hooper said.

The Jewish community in Cleveland, which was shocked by a 10-year-old Damra video in which he inveighed against Jews as "the sons of monkeys and pigs," will monitor the trial, according to Bettysue Feuer, Cleveland regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

She said the disclosure of the video shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon "was a punch in the stomach," for the Jewish community. "It was really devastating," she said.

Damra, who has shunned interviews since his arrest at his suburban Strongsville home on Jan. 13, didn't respond to a request for an interview or comment from another mosque leader. He has denied having ties to terrorist groups

 


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