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VA Mosque President Seeks Justice

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Mohammad Zahid Khan is president of the mosque where the five convicted Muslim men worshiped before heading to Pakistan.
Rebecca Sheir
Mohammad Zahid Khan is president of the mosque where the five convicted Muslim men worshiped before heading to Pakistan.

By Rebecca Sheir

Now that a Pakistani court has convicted five Muslims from the D.C. area for plotting terrorist attacks, members of the local Muslim community say they worry the young men were not treated fairly.

The president of the Islamic Circle of North America Mosque in Alexandria, Virginia, says the 10-year prison sentence has left him surprised and disappointed.

Standing outside the mosque before afternoon prayers, Mohammad Zahid Khan calls the five young men who worshiped at the mosque before going to Pakistan nice kids.

"The five of these kids, very nice," he says. "We never expect from them something like that."

By that, he means using the Internet to plot terror attacks in Pakistan and nations allied with it. Prosecutors say e-mail records and witness statements prove the men are guilty.

But Khan says he worries the men were not given a fair trial in Pakistan.

"One thing we believe, and firmly believe, is in the justice system," he says. "But how they work in Pakistan, prosecution has a very weak case against these five kids. And also, there was news they were tortured during interrogation."

Khan says he'd been hoping the men would be released. He says the community will be praying for the men and their families.

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