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I-Team Report: Rebuke for well-known Muslim cleric

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In this I-Team Report: A strongly-worded rebuke from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan against a well-known Muslim cleric, Kifah Mustapha.

In a federal court filing, Madigan cites Imam Mustapha's ties to terrorism.

The federal court filing by the Illinois attorney general takes on Imam Kifah Mustapha's reputation. It describes some of Mustapha's activities as unpatriotic and a call to violence that are offensive to Jews.

At issue is a civil rights lawsuit filed by Mustapha in 2010, after he joined the Illinois State Police as its Muslim chaplain, only to be dumped a few months later.

Illinois State Police officials say they watched a video seized from Mustapha's office on which they say Mustapha chants terrorist lyrics and children are seen with guns.

State police say the video was a major reason Mustapha had to be axed as a department chaplain, even though he passed an initial background check.

According to a motion to rule against Mustapha's civil rights suit, Madigan's lawyers cite the Muslim cleric's "demonstrable ties to an organization that funded terrorism," and they say his activities "damage Illinois State Police due to its anti-Jewish and un-American content and manner."

The Council for American Islamic Relations, which is providing Mustapha's legal counsel, says the claims are outrageous.

"Yes he's a supporter of Palestinian human right and Palestinian civic rights, but he's not someone who promotes an anti-Semitic agenda or violence against Jews," said CAIR's Ahmed Rehab. "That's just ridiculous."

As the I-Team first reported more than three years ago, at the Mosque Foundation of Chicago, where Mustapha is still one of the best known Islamic leaders in America, his appointment as a state police chaplain was heralded as good news to more than 500,000 metro Chicago Muslims.

But the new filing by Attorney General Madigan's office states that Mustapha is an "advocate (for) violence and vigilantism, highly inconsistent with ISP's mission of maintaining order and legal compliance."

And, the motion for summary judgment states, Mustapha "aided and abetted, or at least cheered for, terrorism."

"It's simply guilty by association, and really doesn't have anything to do with his character or anyone who knows anything about his work," said Rehab. For more than a decade, Mustapha has been dogged by connections to the Holy Land Foundation, who's top officials were convicted in a terrorism trial in Texas. Even though he wasn't prosecuted in that case, Illinois State Police relied on evidence of his involvement with that group.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Madigan says their motion explains evidence that state police had against Mustapha and how police officials perceived it.

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