• Justice Dept. Trying To Revoke Citizenship Of Oregon Cleric Who Omitted Ties To Bin Laden In Application

    U.S. authorities filed a complaint Monday to revoke the citizenship of an Oregon imam who omitted ties with Osama bin Laden and extremist groups in his citizenship application.

    Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, leader of Portland’s largest mosque, had direct contact with al-Qaida founders bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, according to the Department of Justice complaint, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. No criminal charges are included.

    Justice Department spokesman Nicole Navas told TheDCNF this type of case isn’t uncommon. Currently, the department’s Office of Immigration Litigation is working on nearly 200 denaturalization cases.

    Somali-born Kariye entered the U.S. on a student visa in 1982, according to the complaint. He allegedly attended Western Mennonite High School in Salem, Portland Community College and Portland State University.

    Kariye supported the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union from 1985-1988. He is also accused of being a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, a terror organization that supported bin Laden and al-Qaida, according to the Department of Treasury.

    After a short stint in Pakistani prison, Kariye returned to the U.S. and applied for asylum in 1988, swearing he hadn’t left the country.

    Then, he returned to recruit fighters for Makhtab Al-Khidamat, a precursor to al-Qaida, in Pakistan for the next three years, The Associated Press reports. He married Anna Valdez, a U.S. citizen, while in Pakistan. According to the complaint, Valdez applied for Kariye to live as an alien relative in order to return to the U.S. The document offered no further details on their relationship.

    Kariye entered the U.S. as a permanent resident and spouse of an American citizen in 1993. He applied to become a naturalized citizen in 1997. During an interview with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Kariye said he hadn’t been employed for the past five years and lived solely on family money and welfare. (RELATED: Danish Jihadis Received Welfare While Fighting In Syria)

    The 54-year-old failed to disclose his ties to international terrorism and was granted citizenship in 1998.

    The FBI had long-held interest in Kariye, arresting him in a counterterrorism sting in 2002. He admitting to defrauding Medicaid and using a fake Social Security number, receiving five years probation, according to the AP.

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