Fawaz Damrah, a local muslim leader, was arrested today on a federal indictment, charging him with illegally obtaining U.S. citizenship. He has been a U.S. citizen since April 29, 1994.
He faces up to five years in prison. He also faces deportation.
Damrah was arrested at his Strongsville home today at about 8:30 a.m.
The indictment also alleges that Damrah concealed from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services that he "incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution" of Jews and others by advocating and/or supporting violent terrorists attacks against Jews and others.
The indictment also alleges that Damrah concealed from the BCIS that he was charged with assault after an altercation at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Damrah, 41, who leads Ohio's largest mosque, apologized in 2001 when a 10-year-old videotape surfaced showing him making anti-Semitic comments in a speech. Lay leaders of the Islamic Center of Cleveland accepted the apology and said he was forgiven.
The videotape was released by immigration agents in 2002 in a deportation case in Florida involving another man. Damrah, apparently videotaped in Chicago in 1991, was shown calling for rifles to be directed at Jewish people, and referring to them as animals.
Damrah represented the Islamic community at interfaith gatherings in Cleveland after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
His mosque was rammed by a car six days after the attacks. The suspect was drunk and upset about the terrorist attacks, police said.
Damrah's arraignment is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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