Department of Justice seeks to revoke citizenship of Columbia man

The FBI raided the Columbia headquarters of the Islamic American Relief Agency in October, 2004.

The United States Department of Justice has filed a complaint seeking to revoke the naturalization of a Columbia man formerly convicted of terrorist activities.

Mubarek Hamed, the former Executive Director of the Islamic American Relief Agency based in Columbia, is the target of the complaint, filed in federal court last Wednesday. The complaint says that Hamed violated and conspired to violate sanctions imposed against Iraq from 1997 through 2000. Hamed pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiring to illegally transfer more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of the sanctions and was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison. He also pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents and misusing the tax-exempt status given to charities.

In 2004, the IARA, which claimed to be a charitable organization, was desgnated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control as a terrorist organization. At the time, the offices of the IARA were at Second and Cherry Streets in Columbia. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri, the agency, through its representative, Ziyad Khaleel, purchased the satellite telephone used by Osama Bin Laden in 1998 to order the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania at a store in Columbia.

According to the U.S. Attorney, the IARA was a member of a larger organization, based in Sudan, that was itself an al-Queda supporter.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this case is an example of why the U.S. needs to reform its immigration system. "Under the guise of running a non-profit to assist in the famine crises in Africa, a 'Diversity Visa' recipient allegedly transferred funds on a regular basis to a known terrorist," he said.

The federal government wants Hamed's citizenship revoked even though he has served his sentence. According to Thomas Homan of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "Plain and simple, if your defraud the U.S. government during the naturalization process, you risk having your citizenship revoked."

Attempts to reach Hamed for comment were unsuccessful.

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