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Former Head of Islamic Charity Sentenced

Associated Press, USA
Nov. 14, 2003 • Friday November 14, 2003

DETROIT (AP)–The former head of an Islamic charity suspected of having ties to terrorism was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to bank and visa fraud.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff sentenced Bassem Khafagi, formerly of Ann Arbor, to 10 months of time already served in prison. Khafagi, 41, pleaded guilty Sept. 9.

Khafagi admitted that he passed bad checks at two banks for thousands of dollars in 2001, and that he made false statements on his nonimmigrant visa application in 2000, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins said in a statement.

An immigration judge ordered Khafagi deported in August. He is expected to be deported soon to his native Egypt, where he is to join his wife and U.S.-born children, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Khafagi had been in custody since January, when he was arrested in a hotel near LaGuardia Airport in New York. At the time of his arrest, he was community affairs director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group based in Washington.

The FBI said Khafagi is a founding member of the Ypsilanti-based Islamic Assembly of North America, a charity that purports to promote Islam. Officials said earlier this year that they were investigating the organization for possible links to terrorism.

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