WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Division is releasing a cargo of tiles that have been supposed for a northern Virginia mosque however have been confiscated at Dulles Worldwide Airport after they have been decided to have violated sanctions on Iran.
Phrase of the discharge got here by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which launched a letter dated Aug. 16 from the Treasury Division to attorneys representing the Manassas Mosque.
“We welcome this choice as a reaffirmation of our nation’s respect for non secular freedom and variety. Individuals of all non secular backgrounds ought to have entry to the symbols of their religion, regardless of the origin of these symbols,” mentioned CAIR nationwide deputy director Edward Ahmed Mitchell in a information launch.
The 750 kilos (340 kilograms) of tiles have been a present from a mosque within the Iranian metropolis of Qom to the Virginia mosque and embody verses from the Quran. Imam Abolfazl Nahidian mentioned the custom-made tiles have been shipped in June and have been for use in development of a brand new mosque a couple of miles away.
Nahidian mentioned he paid no cash for them, however a Customs and Border Safety officer on the airport blocked the mosque from claiming the tiles, citing the sanctions. Nahidian additionally mentioned he has obtained different tile shipments all through the years with out incident, together with one cargo that arrived eight months in the past.
A letter from Customs and Border Safety had initially knowledgeable the mosque that the tiles should be shipped again to Iran or destroyed. Destroying the tiles can be particularly disturbing, Nahidian mentioned final week.
Audio system on the Aug. 11 information convention recommended that anti-Islam sentiment might have been accountable for the confiscation.
Nahidian, who has led the mosque for practically three a long time, has often drawn scrutiny from critics who say he’s anti-Israel and was a supporter of the ayatollahs within the Iranian Revolution. He has blamed the Sept. 11 assault on Israel; in 1979, he and others chained themselves to the railings of the Statue of Liberty after climbing to the highest and unfurling banners criticizing the shah of Iran, who was overthrown.