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Posted: 5/10/2003 7:04:11 PM EDT
Their time is coming

[b]Saudi envoy deported[/b]
Saturday, May 10, 2003 Posted: 10:09 AM EDT (1409 GMT)

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- U.S. authorities expelled a Saudi consular official and Muslim leader who had been living in Southern California, saying he was suspected of having terrorist links.

Fahad al Thumairy, 32, was detained at Los Angeles International Airport earlier in the week after arriving from Frankfurt and was deported Thursday. He may not return to the United States for five years, authorities said.

"He was placed on an international flight, destined for Riyadh," Saudi Arabia, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security.

Al Thumairy's diplomatic visa was revoked in March, and his name was added to a list of travelers who should not be allowed to enter the United States because of suspected links to terrorism. Officials would not immediately provide details on the alleged connection.

Officials of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and the Saudi Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

Al Thumairy had worked for the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles since 1996 and held a post in the Islamic and cultural affairs section of the consulate.

He was also the imam at the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, which has one of the largest Muslim congregations in the region. The mosque, built with financing from the Saudi government, was the target of a foiled bomb plot by a member of the militant Jewish Defense League in 2001.

"He never dealt with politics, in his public comments or in private gatherings," said Tajuddin Shuaib, who directs the mosque, which is run by a nonprofit group.

"Like the rest of us, he was really shocked about September 11. He felt it was wrong and, in the long term, that it would harm Muslims. His impression was that it would have some bad repercussions," Shuaib said.

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has increased scrutiny of visa applications from Muslim nations around the world. The number of Saudi Arabians who received visas dropped nearly 70 percent in the 2002 fiscal year to about 14,100.

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