Suit Says Fired Imam Just Won’t Leave Center

     CLEVELAND (CN) – An Islamic center’s former prayer leader continues to trespass and hold services on their premises, despite being fired for promoting discord among members and insulting the mosque’s founders, a lawsuit claims.
     The Islamic Center of Cleveland filed its lawsuit Monday in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and asks the court to prevent its former imam, Fouad Saeed Abdulkadir, from trespassing and to stop him from representing himself as a spiritual leader on their grounds.
     The lawsuit also seeks damages from Abdulkadir for what it describes as the tension he has caused the center’s members through his antics, which allegedly included a public book burning in their parking lot.
     The center says Abdulkadir was hired to be its Imam, or religious leader, in June 2014, and that he signed an employment contract that stated he must abide by the organization’s constitution.
     Among the many rules mentioned in the documents were provisions that welcomed “all Muslims regardless of their origin or background” and that stated the center “shall not involve itself in any form of racism.”
     Earlier this year, the lawsuit says, Abdulkadir became increasingly insubordinate and openly hostile with many members of the center’s leadership.
     In a prepared letter, Abdulkadir called a center committee member a “Shia Worm” and then called certain founders “giant dinosaurs.”
     Abdulkadir was immediately placed on leave, an action that the lawsuit claims he never complied with, as he continued to hold services and act in his original capacity.
     During his leave, “Defendant repeatedly met with a group at the Islamic Center and – contrary to the Constitution and spirit of the Islamic Center – encouraged division between Muslims who advocate different schools of thought,” the complaint states.
     The center fired Abdulkadir on May 23, after it was threatened with legal action because the imam failed to make all refunds in connection with an unauthorized planned pilgrimage to Mecca that never came to fruition.
     The lawsuit claims the firing did little to stop Abdulkadir from continuing to regularly enter the center’s building to perform religious sermons and sow discord.
     “Defendant, since being discharged, upon information and belief, has also entered onto the Islamic Center’s premises, removed books and pamphlets from the public area and burned them in the parking lot of the Islamic Center,” the complaint states.
     The lawsuit claims that the center has suffered damages due to Abdulkadir’s trespassing, and his intentional actions that have heightened tensions among its members.
     The Islamic Center of Cleveland is represented by Douglas DiPalma, of Cleveland law firm Cavitch, Familo & Durkin Co. LPA.

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