By Peter Granitz
An Islamic advocacy group says the seizure of a local mosque by the federal government may have violated the First Amendment rights of Muslims in the D.C. Metro area.
Prosecutors filed a forfeiture action against four mosques including the Islamic Education Center in Potomac, Maryland. The government says the center is funded by the Alavi Foundation, an alleged front for the Iranian government.
Ibrahim Hooper with the Council for American Islamic Relations says seizing a place of worship violates the civil rights of practitioners and sends a chilling message. "Already you're seeing headlines: U.S. Government Seizes American Mosques. Now people are going to read those and they're not going to go into the details of this legal argument or that legal argument," says Hooper. "They're going to see that argument and react negatively."
Hooper says the timing couldn't be worse coming in the wake of the shooting at Fort Hood. The center in Potomac would not comment for this story.