Muslims Endure FBI Persistence in Lodi


LODI - Mohammad Saddiq Khan, after repeated, insistent phone calls from FBI agents, went down to the Lodi police station Friday afternoon to answer a few questions about a cousin in Pakistan. Khalid Khan, 32, another cousin, submitted to a lie detector test earlier in the week in Sacramento. He said agents, through an Urdu interpreter, asked him where his family was, whom he meets at the local mosque and if he was a trained terrorist. The Pakistani-American welder, a third-generation resident of this working-class farming community south of Sacramento, calmly said, "no" to the last question and passed the test. "They're just fishing," Khan said, sipping sweet milky tea Thursday night, surrounded by his cousins and other family. Earlier in the week, federal agents arrested a father and son from Lodi after the son failed a voluntary polygraph test and allegedly confessed to training at a terrorist camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004.

Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, who the FBI says changed his story after viewing a video of his son's confession, are being held on suspicion of lying to agents about their knowledge of terrorist training camps. Immigration officials then detained two local imams and one of their sons on suspicion of immigration violations. The arrests have sent waves of worry through the tight-knit Pakistani community in Lodi as federal agents expand their questioning to Bay Area Muslims. Hundreds of men gathered at the Poplar Street mosque for Friday afternoon prayers and heard a sermon focusing on Koranic views of humanity and unity. After the service, worshippers filed out shaking hands, and returned to their homes, many with shades drawn, to await calls from the FBI in what Muslim leaders describe as a divisive federal investigation. Muslims in the community now joke that they have their own special agents, said Basim Elkarra, director of the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. (MORE)

 


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.