Georgia Imam Sentenced

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 8:15 pm by Neal

“Imam who pleaded guilty to aiding Hamas is sentenced.”

ROME, Ga. – In the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mohamed Shorbagi reached out to Christian and Jewish groups in this north Georgia town in an effort to promote peace and understanding.

The imam at a mosque here joined the local Rotary Club and was known for insightful talks to high school and college classes about his faith.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy sentenced the well-regarded community leader to seven years, eight months in prison for providing money and logistical support to the militant group Hamas.

There is no parole in the federal system and the 42-year-old also must serve three years of “supervised release,” which is similar to probation, after completing his prison sentence. …

The U.S. formally designated Hamas as a terrorist organization in October 1997.

From that time until December 2001, prosecutors alleged Shorbagi provided financial support to Hamas, even while knowing the group had been labeled by the government as a terrorist organization. The donations were through a charity called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, prosecutors said.

He did more than funnel money. Shorbagi was ordered to pay $610,000 to his former employer as part of a unrelated fraud case (prosecution of which was dropped in the plea deal). As expected, his lawyers make him out to be the next Mahatma Ghandi. He just cares about “the suffering” and “This is not … a bomb-throwing individual, a danger to society.” Then there’s this,

Shorbagi also was accused of conspiring to provide material support to Hamas.

“He provided support in a logistics fashion by working on a media committee, drawing up pamphlets meant to be sent overseas to try to incite unrest,” Dammers said.

What a guy. The full story is here.

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