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Muslim cleric is in U.S. court fighting deportation

Associated Press

Newark, N.J. — The leader of one of New Jersey’s largest mosques is in court to fight deportation after federal authorities say 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 being convicted in Israel for being a member of Hamas.

He is appearing before an immigration court judge in Newark on Monday as part of the appeals process.

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

Qatanani came to the U.S. from Jordan. He was born in the West Bank.