Government to seize 4 mosques

Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 5:07pm

NEW YORK - Federal prosecutors are taking steps to seize
four U.S. mosques and a New York City skyscraper owned by a
nonprofit Muslim organization.

The organization - called the Alavi Foundation - has long been
suspected of being under Iranian government control. Prosecutors
say the foundation has been helping to illegally funnel money back
to the Iranian government.

The government filed a forfeiture action in federal court in New
York to seize four mosques in the city and in Maryland, California
and Houston. The government also wants to take control of a
36-story office tower on New York's Fifth Avenue.

The filing starts what could be a drawn-out legal process.

The action against the Shiite Muslim mosques is sure to inflame
relations between the U.S. government and American Muslims. Many of
them are fearful of a backlash after last week's Fort Hood shooting
rampage, blamed on a Muslim American soldier.

The mosques and the office tower will remain open while the
forfeiture case works its way through court.

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