Los Angeles Imam Arrested: FBI, IRS Raid Home
- Shia Imam Arrested in Los Angeles
Mousavi Defense Fund
Conact: zainab @ hejrat.info
October 11, 2007
In June of 2006, the home of Seyed M. Mousavi was raided at gunpoint
by the FBI and the IRS, at which time he and his son were handcuffed
and the family was detained for hours under guard while boxes of
paperwork, computers, and other items were taken from the home. At
the same time, Hejrat Foundation, a non-profit religious, charitable,
and religious organization of which Mr. Mousavi is the head, was also
raided. Despite being offered keys, the agents chose to forcibly
enter the offices, the desks, and file drawers, damaging the property
without need. From this location, too, files, computers, recordings,
and other items were taken.
In the weeks following, the people who frequent the Al-Nabi Mosque,
which is administrated by the Hejrat Foundation, were questioned in
their homes by FBI agents. Although the FBI claimed that they
believed that Mr. Mousavi had failed to report income for tax
purposes, the questioning did not focus on money issues. Rather, the
questioning was in relation to Mr. Mousavi's perceived political
stances, alleged connections to the Iranian government, and the
possible political outlook of some of the past religious scholars who
had visited the mosque to give speeches. It was implied to many that
the mosque was "dangerous" for them, and it was requested of some to
become a spy for the FBI to report on any "dangerous" activities
taking place in the mosque. Although the FBI agents were assured by
many that there was nothing of a dangerous nature taking place in the
mosque, and that it was a place where people gather for religious and
cultural reasons only, the agents did not leave off this campaign.
During the year following the raid, Mr. Mousavi's attorney was in
frequent contact with the appropriate agencies concerning this matter.
During this time, Mr. Mousavi traveled out of the country several
times for business or personal reasons. Before leaving each time, Mr.
Mousavi had his lawyer request and receive permission from the
appropriate authorities. The business to which Mr. Mousavi was
attending was the Hajj pilgrimage trip, which he organizes each year.
This required multiple trips to Saudi Arabia, and sometimes of a long
duration, in order to finish all the necessary arrangements. Mr.
Mousavi would usually make stops in Iran, which is his place of birth.
There, he visited relatives, and attended to the business of the
mosque, which requires arranging for religious scholars to visit the
U.S. to give religious lectures at the Al-Nabi mosque.
On August 31, 2007, Mr. Mousavi was arrested by federal agents upon
leaving the Al-Nabi Mosque after an early morning prayer session.
This surprise arrest was made despite the fact that Mr. Mousavi's
lawyer had been assured that he would be given the opportunity to turn
himself in should the government decide to charge him. Instead,
agents were waiting outside the mosque, and he was arrested a few
Currently Mr. Mousavi is being held at Metropolitan Detention Center,
a federal jail, in Los Angeles, CA. Originally it was decided that he
would be allowed bail with $30,000 worth of home value to be as his
bond, and he would have a modified house arrest whereby he would wear
an electronic tracking device and be allowed to travel between his
home and his work, which includes his place of worship. However, the
Federal Prosecutors appealed this, and he has now been twice denied
bail, despite the fact that by the actions taken by Mr. Mousavi in the
past year have proven that he wishes to stay and fight these charges,
of which he expects to be acquitted.
Mr. Mousavi has been charged with failure to report income for tax
purposes, which is simply untrue. He has also been charged - under
the "IEEPA," which is the current catch-all law used against many
other innocent citizens - he has been charged with giving consulting
services to a foreign company who wished to do business with Iran.
This, however is also a false charge because Mr. Mousavi did not do
business with the company in question. He has also been charged with
lying on his citizenship application concerning alleged previous
service in the Iranian military. This charge is also utterly false.
Mr. Mousavi never served in the Iranian military. He was officially
excused from military service due to the severe injuries he received
in a bombing as a civilian.
The charges that Mr. Mousavi faces are quite defensible. He is not
guilty of the charges, and needs to be able to gather his evidence to
prove his innocence, since, indeed, in such a case a person must
actually prove that he is not guilty as charged. Many of the original
documents in question are not in the English language, and have been
translated by the FBI and/or the prosecution team. Each of these must
be inspected carefully to be sure that the translations are correct,
since the FBI agents have shown some of these documents to people
claiming that the documents said things that they did not indeed
state. The federal prosecutors have buried the defense in an initial
15,000 pages of documents, and has promised several boxes more. Even
the judge in the case repeatedly expressed that this is an
extraordinary and unreasonable number of pages to be given as "discovery."
Given these facts, it is of the utmost importance that Mr. Mousavi
have a skilled defense team. The government has shown undue interest
in the case, far beyond what would be normal for such charges. Only
with the help of highly skilled and experienced lawyers does Mr.
Mousavi have hope of being acquitted of these false charges.
Unfortunately, good lawyers come at a high cost.
The Mousavi defense fund was established so that people from all over
the country can have the opportunity to donate for the defense of an
innocent man so that he can be acquitted of the charges and once again
join his family in freedom, and so that he can continue his good works
within the Hejrat Foundation and the Al-Nabi Mosque.
Donate generously. May Allah bless you.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Imam Amir ul Mu'mineen Ali [a] said: "May Allah have mercy upon the
person who services a right and removes a wrong, or refutes an
injustice and establishes justice."
In order to find justice and fight the unjust charges being brought
against Mr. Mousavi, we have opened the Mousavi Defense Fund, to which
you can donate at Bank of America, checking account # 23464 45415.
You may donate directly or make your check payable to "Mousavi Defense
Fund" and send to:
324 S. Diamond Bar Blvd., #137
Diamond Bar, CA 91765
All money collected will go toward the defense of Mr. Mousavi.
May Allah have mercy on you.
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