DETROIT (AP) – The attorney for the detained co-founder of an Islamic charity says he plans to appeal a judge’s ruling denying the man political asylum.
An immigration judge on Friday denied political asylum for Rabih Haddad, his wife and three of their children, saying the family had given no evidence they will be persecuted if they leave the country. The judge ordered the family removed from the United States.
Judge Robert Newberry also said Haddad was a danger to the country, citing his links to the Global Relief Foundation, the suburban Chicago-based charity Haddad co-founded. The government has accused the group of funneling money to al-Qaida.
Yesterday, Haddad’s attorney criticized Newberry’s ruling, calling it biased.
Ashraf Nubani said an appeal was planned, but that Haddad had 30 days to decide. His family, meanwhile, had no plans to leave the country without him. The couple’s fourth child was born in the United States.
“The family is trying to cope with the decision, understanding that not all Americans are like that,” Nubani said. “It makes them stronger.”
Nubani also said even if Haddad decided not to appeal the immigration judge’s decision, the U.S. attorney’s office or the FBI could keep detain him further as part of a criminal investigation.
Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said he couldn’t comment on whether that could happen. He said a deportation time likely would be set once the 30-day window for appeal has closed, near the Christmas holiday.
Neither Haddad, a 42-year-old Ann Arbor resident and Lebanese citizen, nor Global Relief have been charged with a terrorism-related crime.
The federal government says Global Relief has received substantial funding from a suspected financier of al-Qaida’s worldwide efforts.