A convenience store clerk was charged today in federal court with immigration fraud for failing to disclose his ties to a terrorist group on an application for U.S. citizenship.
Hayatullah Dawari, 62, is an Afghan citizen who has lived in Northeast Philadelphia since 2008.
Dawari allegedly has a connection to Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), an anti-Western insurgent group active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, said federal prosecutors. HIG, which is closely associated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, took credit for a 2008 assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and has advocated for the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state, according to published reports.
In May 2013, a spokesman for HIG announced the group planned to step up its campaign of violent jihad to include more suicide attacks, according to the federal indictment.
Dawari, a permanent legal resident of the U.S., applied for citizenship in November 2013. On a required questionnaire, Dawari checked a “no” box when asked if he had ever been “a member of or associated with any organization, association, fund, foundation, party, club, society or similar group in the United States or in any other place?” The question requires the applicant to note any and all affiliations with professional, non-professional or religious organizations.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the extent of Dawari’s involvement with HIG.