A man once suspected of being part of al Qaeda was kicked out of a Minnesota mosque this summer.

KMSP reporter Tom Lyden, who broke this story, went “On The Record” to discuss.

Al-Farooq Youth and Family Center kicked 31-year-old Amir Meshal out of the mosque in June. Police also ticketed him for trespassing.


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The center was concerned about him interacting with others after a volunteer allegedly heard him proselytizing a radical Islamist ideology. Of the Americans who left Syria for ISIS, 15 of them had reportedly gone to Al-Farooq.

Meshal was arrested in Kenya in 2007 after leaving a Somalia training camp. He was suspected of being a member of al Qaeda and was interrogated for three months before he was released back into the U.S.

Watch Lyden’s interview above and read more below from KMSP:

In a lawsuit, filed on his behalf by the ACLU, Meshal says he went to Somalia to enrich his studying of Islam. He was interrogated more than 30 times by two FBI agents, threatened with torture, and shuffled between jails in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia before being brought back to the U.S. three months later and released without charges.

The lawsuit was dismissed two months ago, but the case is well-documented on the internet, leading many in the Somali community to believe he might actually be working as an informant for the FBI or CIA, or some kind of double agent.

What role Amir Meshal may play in any recruiting, and for whom, is unknown, but Al-Farooq says he's not welcomed back to the center.

According to the ACLU's lawsuit, the FBI actually offered Meshal the opportunity to serve as a government informant. In exchange, they would take his name off the no fly list. Because he's on that list, he's not able to visit his mother and extended family who live in Egypt.

We contacted the FBI, but they had no comment. We haven't been able to reach Amir Meshal, and we don't know where he's currently living.