Popular local Imam here in Chicago Shayk…

Popular local Imam here in Chicago Shaykh Kifah Mustapha of the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation has now been denied a volunteer position as a Chaplain with the Illinois State Police. Mustapha was selected and trained by the State police but they now have withdrawn the appointment. The State police say it was the result of a background check. CAIR-Chicago and a host of interfaith partners held a press conference to say that the decision was the result of allegations promoted by Steven Emerson that try to tie the imam to terrorism. Mustapha has previously raised money for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF was one of the largest Muslim charities in the US and Shaykh Kifah is the most prolific fundraiser for Muslim causes in the Chicago area) and was named by prosecutors in the HLF case as an “unindicted coconspirator.”

CAIR-Chicago has said it will file a complaint with the EEOC against the State Police.

“We say that the ISP actually hired Imam Kifah Mustafa and trained him as a chaplain and then terminated him due to the allegations of reporter Steven Emerson,” said attorney Christina Abraham at a press conference in Chicago.

“Our case is centered on the idea that he was discriminated against, and had he not been Muslim, born in Lebanon and of a different race, the ISP would not have fired him based on these allegations.”

Abraham made the announcement at the Downtown Islamic Center on State Street, flanked by representatives of community groups supporting of the popular religious leader. Mustafa was not present.

Last Friday, a representative of the ISP met with the cleric to withdraw his appointment as one of seven volunteer chaplains to minister to an increasingly diverse police force, the imam’s lawyer said.

The move followed Internet postings by Washington-based reporter Steve Emerson on the Investigative Project on Terrorism site denouncing Mustafa’s appointment, Abraham said.

The postings referenced a 2007 decision by federal prosecutors to label Mustafa an “unindicted co-conspirator” as part of their case against the Holy Land Foundation — one of the largest Islamic charities in the United States. Two of its founders were sentenced last year for sending millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas in breach of U.S. terrorism laws.