Cleric denies terrorist link to ‘California jihadists’

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – A cleric yesterday disputed FBI allegations that his 22-year-old grandson received jihadist training at his Islamic seminary near Pakistan’s capital, calling the charges “a pack of lies.”

Qari Saeed-ur Rehman, head of the Jamia Islamia madrassa in Rawalpindi, said his grandson Hamid Hayat and son-in-law Umer Hayat, 47, were wrongfully arrested in California last week, and he dismissed suggestions they were linked to an Al Qaeda cell. ”Hamid Hayat never received religious education at my madrassa,” Rehman, a supporter of Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime and a critic of the US government, said in an interview. “There is no terrorist camp here. We reject such FBI allegations.”

Associated Press, 15 June 2005

See also LA Times, 11 June 2005

For harassment by the FBI, see CAIR news release, 14 July 2005