The Iman’s Curse – A family accused of financing terrorism

Did the “thing” mentioned on the wiretaps really refer to money for the Taliban?

Hafiz Khan and his sons Irfan and Izhar were arrested 14 May 2011 for intending to support others who, in theory, intended to engage in terrorism, as part of the new focus of US law enforcement “proactive prevention and disruption”, preempting terrorists by arresting their supporters as early as possible. He had moved to America with members of his family in 1994.

As an albino in Pakistan, Hafiz was considered for work in the field and sent to Islamic school, where he became cleric. With poor eyesight, he relied heavily on the phone to stay informed about life back at home. He urged his children to send money home to relatives or the needy in the Muslim tradition of charity known as zakat. Living simply, he sent over the years thousands of dollars to Pakistan to support a mosque and Islamic school he had funded in 1971. He was known for his short temper, a fierce, inveterate talker with a repertoire of khairey – Pashto prayers for misfortune. Dramatic curses are a common relief valve in Pashtun conversation. He routinely described Pakistan’s leaders as pimps, pigs, sons of donkeys, huge bastards and dumb-asses.

There were inconsistencies in the case: the AUSA said the Western Union records recorded that money was sent to the Taliban commander in Pakistan, but they listed Irfan’s wife’s uncle, a retired biology professor; the FBI argued that amounts were under $1,000 to avoid suspicion when they had records where Irfan told his father it was to avoid higher Western Union fees. The prosecutors dropped all charges on Irfan 13 June 2012 and he hasn’t found his interrupted career back, his bank closed his account as a search on his name brings up articles on terrorism.

As the case on Izhar’s showed signs of overreach as well, on 17th Jan 2013, the judge issued an unusual ruling in Izhar’s case: a “judgment of acquittal”. This occurs in fewer than one in every thousands federal cases.

The prosecutor managed to prove that Hafiz sent money but not to Talibans and with a poor defender, he was charged with 25 years. His case is now under appeal.