PHILADELPHIA – Federal agents raided a mosque and two homes in Philadelphia on Thursday and took a Muslim cleric into custody on immigration charges, authorities and witnesses said.
IRS agents searched the Ansaar Allah Islamic Society (search) and an adjacent home in the city's Bridesburg section, plus a third home in Northeast Philadelphia, according to IRS spokesman Skip Bedics.
Bedics would not say what IRS agents were looking for. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia declined to discuss the raids.
FBI spokeswoman Jerri Williams would not disclose details of the case, but said it had "no direct connection to terrorism."
One man was detained for an alleged immigration violation, according to William Riley, a spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (search).
Riley would not identify the man detained, but a woman who identified herself as Meriem Moumen told KYW-AM that the man was her husband, Mohamed Ghorab, an Egyptian and the mosque's imam.
She told the radio station that agents accused the family of being involved in terrorism. Moumen said she and her husband are peaceful and have no ties to or sympathy for any terrorist groups.
"We're just a regular family," she said, sobbing.
FBI agents were also present for the search, but the bureau spokeswoman said they were only there to offer support, and were not directly involved in the investigation.