Islamic Institute of Orange County (IIOC) or Masjid Omar Al Farouk
Anaheim, CA

Wagdy Ghoneim is a radical Egyptian cleric who was imam at IIOC until his November 2004 arrest by U.S. authorities for immigration violations. [1] Ghoneim was allowed into the U.S. as a religious worker to preside over a Texas mosque, but failed to get permission to move to California with his family, which qualified him as being "out of status," making Ghoneim subject to deportation. [2] According to U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice, he was held without bond after his arrest "based upon Department of Homeland Security concerns that his [Ghoneim's] past speeches and participation in fund-raising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations."[3][emphasis added] Ghoneim chose to leave the U.S. for Qatar voluntarily instead of continuing the immigration battle in the U.S.; as part of the agreement Ghoneim admitted he was in violation of his immigration status.[4]

Ghoneim was also denied entry into Canada in 1998. Gerald Belanger, the manager of Canada's Citizenship and Immigration's ports of entry operations in Windsor, stated that Ghoneim had been denied entry because "[our] computerized information system indicated he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas—both known terrorist organizations."[5] [emphasis added] Ghoneim was denied entry from the United Kingdom by the Home Office in May of 2009 citing that Ghoneim is considering to be, "seeking to foment, justify or glory terrorist violence."[6]

Ghoneim led an audience in a song with the lyrics, "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes,"[7] at a rally at Brooklyn College in May 1998.[8]

[1] "Arrested Anaheim mosque leader leaves United States voluntarily," Associated Press, January 4, 2005.

[2] Melissa Block, "Muslim cleric and his family choose voluntary deportation in wake of visa complications and perceived persecution by the US government," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, January 3, 2005.

[3] "Arrested Anaheim mosque leader leaves United States voluntarily," Associated Press, January 4, 2005.

[4] "Anaheim mosque leader agrees to leave United States," Associated Press, December 28, 2004.

[5] Ellen van Wageningen, "Egyptian Religious Leader Denied Canadian Visa: Ghoneim May Have Terrorist Connections, Immigration Officials Say," Ottawa Citizen, January 10, 1998, E9, Available at: (accessed May 18, 2009).

[6] "Home Office Name Promoters of Hate Excluded from the United Kingdom," U.K. Border Agency, Home Office, May 5, 2009, (accessed May 15, 2009).

[7] Wagdy Ghoneim. IAP Brooklyn Celebration. Brooklyn, New York. May 24, 1998.

[8] "50 Years of Occupation." Direct Submission from the IAP Information Office on MSA News. May 23, 1998.