The head of a Lexington, Ky. mosque and two other men are accused of seeking out a hitman to kill two people the men claimed owed them money.
Mahmoud Shaker Shalash, the 70-year-old imam of the Islamic Center of Lexington, is charged with use of interstate facilities in commission for murder for hire and conspiracy, along with 31-year-old John Sadiqullah and 34-year-old Abdul Hadi. Shalash and Saduqullah appeared in Lexington federal court Thursday and were ordered held pending a May 14 hearing on pretrial detention, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
Hadi appeared in court Friday and also was ordered detained until a further hearing.
According to police affidavits filed last week, an informant posing as a hitman initially met with Shalash at a Lexington motel on March 12. Shalash told the informant that a person referred to as “Victim #1” in court filings owed him $80,000 and Shalash wanted his money back.
The informant suggested during a subsequent meeting that Sadiqullah and others — who were mad at someone they believed had cheated them in a business deal — meet with Shalash at a mosque on Armstrong Mill Road “in order for Shalash to provide a ‘fatwa’ authorizing the killing.”
A fatwa is an Islamic legal pronouncement issued by an expert in religious law, according to The Islamic Supreme Council of America.
In yet another meeting the informant told them there were several ways he and his buddies could get back the money for Sadiqullah, and asked what Sadiqullah wanted done.
“I want him dead,” Sadiqullah allegedly said.
“It’s not about the money. He took more than money from me. He took my livelihood. He really destroyed us. If someone could kill him (Victim 2) for $10,000, we all four will pay someone $10,000.”
Sadiqullah told the confidential source that he knew the victim could pay because three of his associates went to the victim’s house in Florida. The victim had a lot of gold and diamond rings, and the victim drove a Range Rover, according to the statement.
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Contributed by Sean Walton of The Daily Sheeple.