Margate Mosque Tries To Move On Amid Smear Campaign By Local Religious Groups
The indictment of Izhar Khan -- the former imam of Margate's Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen mosque -- has sparked outrage from religious groups and tea party members, leading to the their protest attempting to force an investigation or close down the mosque.
The problem with their logic is that neither the mosque nor any of its followers have been implicated by authorities -- something those in opposition of the mosque refuse to believe.
The FBI even said this when they announced the charges against six people across South Florida for allegedly providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban:
"The indictment does not charge the mosques themselves with any wrongdoing, and the individual defendants are charged based on their provision of material support to terrorism, not on their religious beliefs or teachings," they said on May 14.
In his first interview since giving a press conference to media immediately after Khan's arrest, Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen president Yazid Ali tells New Times all of the worshipers at the mosque abide by all the laws.
In response to allegations that they've been hiding their activities from the community, Ali says it's simply not true.
"We've had the FBI in the mosque," he says. "They assured us no one else here nor the mosque is under investigation."
New Times asked Special Agent Michael Leverock of the FBI Miami division to verify this, but he says the "only information I can provide you with is the original press release."
That's not out-of-the-ordinary, since Khan's case is still considered to be "open."
But Ali and the rest of the people who attend the Margate mosque are moving past it.
The assistant imam has stepped into the position as imam, and they're continuing their service to the community.
"We're loved by our neighbors, we have a lot of ties with the community," Ali says. "We work with the real citizens of Margate."
That's seemingly true, since several elderly people at a condominium complex across from the mosque were asking protesters to go home at Tuesday's rally, standing up on the mosque's behalf.
"We have no doubts in what we do here," Ali says.
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