RELIGION

Muslim cleric is in US court fighting against deportation

  • FILE In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 file photograph, Mohammad Qatanani, Imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, N.J., answers a question, as he joins a group of Muslim community leaders gathered in Piscataway, N.J., to condemn terrorist attacks. Qatanani, the leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is heading to court, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016,  to fight from being deported after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)

    FILE In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 file photograph, Mohammad Qatanani, Imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, N.J., answers a question, as he joins a group of Muslim community leaders gathered in Piscataway, N.J., to condemn terrorist attacks. Qatanani, the leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is heading to court, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, to fight from being deported after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE In this Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008 file photograph, Imam Mohammad Qatanani, center left, walks out of the Peter W. Rodino Jr. Federal Building in Newark, N.J., with supporters, after an immigration judge ruled that Qatanani can remain in the United States. Qatanani, the leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is heading back to court, Monday, Dec. 4, 2016,  to fight from being deported after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application. A judge ruled against immigration authorities' attempt to have him deported eight years ago. (AP Photo/Mike Derer,file)

    FILE In this Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008 file photograph, Imam Mohammad Qatanani, center left, walks out of the Peter W. Rodino Jr. Federal Building in Newark, N.J., with supporters, after an immigration judge ruled that Qatanani can remain in the United States. Qatanani, the leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is heading back to court, Monday, Dec. 4, 2016, to fight from being deported after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application. A judge ruled against immigration authorities' attempt to have him deported eight years ago. (AP Photo/Mike Derer,file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 file photograph, Mohammad Qatanani, Imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, N.J., answers a question, as he joins a group of Muslim community leaders gathered in Piscataway, N.J., to condemn terrorist attacks. Qatanani, the leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is heading to court, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016,  to fight from being deported after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)

    FILE In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 file photograph, Mohammad Qatanani, Imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, N.J., answers a question, as he joins a group of Muslim community leaders gathered in Piscataway, N.J., to condemn terrorist attacks. Qatanani, the leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is heading to court, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, to fight from being deported after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)  (The Associated Press)

The leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques is in court to fight deportation after federal authorities say he lied on his green card application.

Imam Mohammad Qatanani is the leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County. A judge ruled against immigration authorities' attempt to have him deported eight years ago. Federal officials say he didn't disclose being convicted in Israel for being a member of Hamas.

He is appearing before an immigration court judge in Newark on Monday as part of the appeals process.

Qatanani denies that he was ever part of the group classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. He says he was only detained and never convicted.

Qatanani came to the U.S. from Jordan. He was born in the West Bank.