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Charity, Or Terror?

A federal immigration judge Wednesday has reportedly ordered the founder of a charity accused of funding terrorist activities held indefinitely on a visa violation charge.

That's according to a defense attorney for Rabih Haddad. Haddad, 41, was arrested at his Ann Arbor home Dec. 14, the same day federal agents raided the offices of Global Relief Foundation in Illinois, which he helped start.

The U.S. Immigration Court hearing on Haddad's detainment was closed and a court spokesman declined to comment on it.

Haddad's attorney, Ashraf Nubani, said the judge decided to hold him because he had purchased a hunting rifle and was considered a danger to society. Nubani said he would appeal.

Haddad, a native of Lebanon, came to the United States in 1998 on a tourist visa that has since expired, according to Nubani. Nubani says his client should be protected from prosecution for that violation because he has applied for permanent residency.

Haddad co-founded the Global Relief Foundation in 1992 and now serves on the board of trustees. The federal government froze the group's assets Dec. 14.

Haddad's wife, Salma al-Rashaid, has denied that her husband's foundation has terrorist links.

Michigan is home to about 350-thousand Arab-Americans and since Sept. 11, about 500 Michigan men have received letters from federal prosecutors, requesting that they report to be interviewed by anti-terror investigators.

About 300 responded to the letters and officials tried to personally contact those who didn't.

Authorities have said that those being interviewed are from countries where Sept. 11 terror attacks suspected mastermind Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network is present.

As of December 21st, more than 160 interviews had been completed.

Assistant U-S Attorney Bob Cares, a federal prosecutor in Detroit, says the interviews are going well and should be wrapped up by January 21st.

Federal officials hope to conduct five thousand interviews nationwide. They say the men are not suspects, but might have useful information in the terror probe.

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