CHICAGO (CN) – In a 7th Circuit ruling analyzing what it means to “engage in terrorist activity,” Judge Posner found that Mohammad Azam Hussain is deportable for his membership in the terrorist organization Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi, despite his claim that he never engaged in the group’s armed violence. more
Hussain was an active member of MQM-H from 1991 to 1996. During that time, members of the group committed “small, but frequent, armed attacks or arsons” against the rival Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf, ethnic militants and government forces, often to avenge the deaths of its members. Mohajirs are Muslim refugees from India who have settled in Hussain’s native Pakistan.
The immigration judge ordered Hussain deported, partly for his involvement in the terrorist organization, but also because he used false documents to enter the United States in 1994.
The Board of Immigration Appeals upheld his deportation order, but found that he was entitled to relief under the Convention Against Torture. The board hinged his removal order on the outcome of an investigation into whether Hussain would be tortured if removed to Pakistan and, if so, whether India would take him.
Hussain appealed the removal order based on his ties to MQM-H, arguing that he never meant to fund terrorist activity.
The federal appeals court ruled that his claim was irrelevant. “If you provide material support to a terrorist organization, you are engaged in terrorist activity even if your support is confined to the nonterrorist activities of the organization,” Posner wrote. Otherwise, terrorist groups could raise money for an “ostensibly benign purpose,” such as humanitarian work or education, and use that money to promote terrorist activities, the ruling states.