Press Releases

Ohio Muslims Concerned About Safety of Imam Damra


(CLEVELAND, OHIO, 1/9/07) – The Ohio office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) today expressed concern over misleading reports from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials about the whereabouts of deported Cleveland Imam Fawaz Damra.

[PRESS CONFERENCE: A press conference will be held at the Islamic Center of Cleveland (6055 West 130th Street, Parma, Ohio) at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9.]

For five days, ICE officials told the media, Damra’s family and his attorney that the Imam had been transferred to custody of the Palestinian Authority. They now admit that Damra was turned over to Israel on January 4.

Damra, the former Imam of Ohio’s largest mosque, was taken from the Monroe County Immigration Detention Center in the early hours of January 3rd and flown by charter plane to Amman, Jordan.

ICE officials initially claimed Damra was turned over to the Palestinian Authority (PA), but Israeli and international human rights groups later confirmed that Damra is being detained by Israel at an Israeli interrogation center. Damra’s family has not heard from him since January 1.

“This looks more like a ‘rendition’ than a deportation,” said CAIR-Ohio Board Member Dr. Ahmad Al-Akhras. “Given Israel’s history of prisoner mistreatment, we are concerned about Imam Damra’s safety and are very concerned that our own government apparently sought to mislead the public about his whereabouts.”

SEE: Supporters Fear Deported Damra Detained in Israel (Plain Dealer)

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.


CONTACT: CAIR-OHIO Cleveland Chapter Director, Julia A. Shearson, 216-830-2247 or 216-440-2247, E-mail:; CAIR Vice President, Dr. Ahmad Al-Akhras, 614-989-5916, E-Mail:


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