Muslim cleric in US court says he wasn't convicted in Israel

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2016 1:30 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is defending himself against charges he lied on his green card application.

Imam Mohammad Qatanani is the leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.

A judge ruled against immigration authorities' attempt to have him deported eight years ago. Federal officials say he didn't disclose that he'd been convicted in Israel for being a member of Hamas.

Qatanani began testifying Tuesday before an immigration court judge in Newark as part of the appeals process.

Qatanani denies he was part of the group classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. He says he was only detained and never convicted.

He testified that he was handcuffed, hooded and made to sit in a child's chair for hours while in Israeli detention.