Protesters Demand Closing of Margate Mosque

Some Margate citizens feel the Imam and mosque should go

By Ari Odzer and Andre Everette
|  Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011  |  Updated 9:16 AM EDT
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A protest called for the shut down of a Muslim mosque in Margate, three weeks after the feds arrested one of its leaders and his family, charging them with supporting the Taliban.

A protest called for the shut down of a Muslim mosque in Margate, three weeks after the feds arrested one of its leaders and his family, charging them with supporting the Taliban.

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A coalition of South Florida groups gathered on Tuesday to continue the call for closure of a Margate mosque that has become the center of a Taliban controversy because of its leader.

Members of Americans Against Hate, Citizens of Margate and Tea Party Fort Lauderdale gathered outside Masjid Jamaat al-Mumineen to protest an imam who has been charged by the government with financing the Taliban in Pakistan.

On June 3, Izhar Khan, 24, pleaded not guilty conspiracy charges of aiding a Pakistani terrorist group.

Prosecutors claim Khan, his father and older brother provided at least $50,000 to the terrorist group that has been implicated in numerous violent attacks and plots around the world.

Authorities have not implicated any of the South Florida mosques in wrongdoing.

Khan's attorney could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Some of the protesters Tuesday felt the Khan's involvement was enough for federal and state authorities to shut down the mosque, located at 3222 Holiday Springs Blvd.

“The imam is the face of the mosque. When you have the president of the mosque saying this guy is a star, even though he was helping to raise tens of thousands for the Taliban, I would say shut it down absolutely,” Joe Kaufman, chairman of Americans Against Hate.

The alleged actions of Khan don't reflect the mosque as a whole, said Nezar Hamze, executive director of Council on American-Islam Relations.

“I think they are anti-Muslim bigots. They need to revisit our constitution," he said. "The FBI and U.S. attorney made it very clear that the mosque isn’t being implicated in this investigation.”

A peaceful demonstration and protest is scheduled for 7 p.m. in front of the mosque.

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