What about his congregation and all the other Muslims who follow his teachings? Is the mosque being monitored? Yassin Aref conspired to aid a terrorist group and provided support for a weapon of mass destruction, as well as money-laundering and supporting a foreign terrorist organization, Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Masjid As-Salam in Albany
Former Imam in NY Terrorism Sting Is Deported to Iraq
A former imam who served 13 years in federal prison after being convicted of terrorism in an FBI sting in upstate New York has been deported to Iraq.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A former imam who served 14 years in federal custody after being convicted of terrorism in an FBI sting in upstate New York has been deported to Iraq.
The son and lawyer of Yassin Aref tell the Albany Times Union that he was deported Sunday night.
Aref was imam at an Albany mosque when he was arrested in 2004 for his role in a money laundering scheme involving an FBI informant who posed as an illegal arms dealer. The informant said he needed to launder money from the sale of a shoulder-carried rocket launcher to be used to kill a Pakistani diplomat.
“Albany mosque imam convicted of terrorism in sting deported,” by Mallory Moench, Times Union, June 10, 2019:
Yassin Aref, an imam at an Albany mosque convicted of terrorism in a post-9/11 FBI sting, was deported Sunday night, his son and lawyer said.
Aref, who is Kurdish, will return to Iraq after 13 1/2 years in federal prison and eight months in immigration detention in Pennsylvania.
His son Salah Muhiddin said he received a call from his father around 3:45 p.m. Sunday telling him that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Aref to pack up his belongings and prepare to leave. A little later, the messaging system that he uses stopped working and ICE’s detainee locator stopped listing him as a detainee.
Muhiddin was expecting a call anytime Sunday evening to confirm Aref was at the airport.
“If everything goes smoothly, he should be back in his home country as a free man tomorrow,” Muhiddin said.
Aref’s long-term lawyer Kathy Manley said at a hearing in federal court arguing for Aref’s release last Friday, ICE said Aref would be deported soon.
“We were asking for him to be released because we didn’t know when he was actually going to go. They said you don’t need to do that, he’ll be deported next week,” Manley said.
Aref, who was imam at Masjid As-Salam on Central Ave., was convicted in October 2006 by a federal jury in Albany of conspiring to aid a terrorist group with Central Avenue pizza shop owner Mohammad Hossain, an immigrant from Bangladesh. Their 2004 arrest was based on recorded information gathered during an FBI counter-terrorism sting involving money laundering to purchase a shoulder-fired rocket launcher.
Prosecutors portrayed Aref as a religious fanatic. But Manley and others believe Aref’s arrest was a case of entrapment….
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