FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2001
TDD (202) 514-1888
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE STATEMENT REGARDING
THE ARREST OF MAZEN AL NAJJAR
WASHINGTON, D.C. - - The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) today arrested Mazen Al Najjar, in Tampa, Florida. The arrest is based on a final order of deportation recently upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, Georgia. Al Najjar was ordered deported because he violated his visa and was ineligible for any form of relief from deportation. Al Najjar also had established ties to terrorist organizations and held leadership positions in the Tampa-based Islamic Concern Project (ICP) and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise. This case underscores the Justice Department's commitment to address terrorism by using all legal authorities available.
The ICP and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise are front organizations that raised funds for militant Islamic-Palestinian groups such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas. The PIJ, designated by the Secretary of State as a terrorist organization, has claimed responsibility for several acts of terrorism including at least two deadly attacks on Israeli citizens this month. Furthermore, Al Najjar's Tampa-based ICP was responsible for petitioning for other known terrorists to obtain visas to enter the United States.
The Eleventh Circuit Court's recent affirmation of the final order of removal provided INS with the authority to take Al Najjar into custody and proceed with removing him from the United States. His current detention is not based on classified evidence. The INS regularly detains individuals who have a final order of deportation while it prepares for their removal from the United States if they are a flight risk, a threat to the community or a threat to national security. Al Najjar is being detained under this standard.