Probe of Muslim Prison Clerics Urged

From Times Wire Reports

A state legislator has called for an immediate investigation of all 42 Muslim clerics working for the New York Department of Correctional Services.

State Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Seneca Falls), chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, said the arrest on federal charges of Osameh Al Wahaidy, a Muslim chaplain at the Auburn Correctional Facility, is an embarrassment.

"The selection process for taxpayer-funded Muslim clerics is too trusting, too loose and too naive," Nozzolio said.

Al Wahaidy, a Jordanian working in the U.S., has been charged with helping to send aid to Iraq through a charity in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Until recently, the state prison system relied almost exclusively on one person to recruit its clerics, Warith Deen Umar, who has been linked to anti-American propaganda.

Umar retired in 2000, but continued to work with the prison system as a consultant. The corrections department barred him from New York's prisons after the Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying the Sept. 11 hijackers should be honored as martyrs.

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