US appeals Muslim cleric immigration case

October 3, 2008 21:08


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Federal immigration officials are appealing the case of a New Jersey Muslim leader who won his fight to remain in the United States, a move the leader's spokesman said may damage hard-won trust between Muslims and law enforcement. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants the Board of Immigration Appeals to review the decision to stop the deportation of Muhammad Qatanani, a Palestinian leader accused by some federal officials of having terrorist ties but praised by others as being an important ally. Qatanani, 44, won his fight to gain permanent US residency in September, when a federal immigration judge determined the government's case against him was too weak to prove he had any ties to extremist groups. The ruling would allow Qatanani and his family to remain in the country and eventually be eligible to apply for citizenship.

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