This week's arrest of five Lodi men by the FBI is the latest episode in the internal dissension that has rocked Lodi's Muslim community for more than a year.
Tensions have been so pronounced that the Lodi Muslim Mosque has sued the leader of an effort to build an elementary school and worship center on Lower Sacramento Road. A defendant in the lawsuit, Mohammad Adil Khan, was one of the three men arrested this week on immigration charges.
The power base at the Lodi Muslim Mosque changed significantly in the fall of 2003, with Mohammad Shoaib taking over as president from Aman Khan.
Shoaib and some of his supporters developed nothing short of complete animosity toward Mohammad Adil Khan, who had represented the mosque as its imam -- the mosque's spiritual leader -- from 2001 until January 2004. Mohammad Adil Khan is not related to Aman Khan.
Whether Mohammad Adil Khan was actually imam, as he continually told the community, is very much in question. Shoaib said in a News-Sentinel interview last year that he fired Khan in January 2004. Others close to the mosque say that Mohammad Adil Khan was never imam; rather he allegedly misrepresented himself to the community for more than two years by claiming he was the imam.
Now Mohammad Adil Khan and his successor as imam, Shabbir Ahmed, and Khan's son, Mohammad Hassan Adil, have been arrested on administrative immigration charges. All three men are from Pakistan.
Hard feelings continued in March as the Lodi Muslim Mosque -- with no individual names listed as plaintiffs -- filed a lawsuit against Mohammad Adil Khan and four of his supporters.
The lawsuit, filed in March, claims that Farooqia officials sold 7 acres of land on Armstrong Road and used the money toward the purchase of the larger parcel.
In addition to Mohammad Adil Khan, defendants in the lawsuit include the last two mosque presidents, Aman Khan and Nasim Khan, plus Ramzan Ali and Mohammad Hussain. None of the Khans are related.
Shoaib has also led an organized effort against Khan's efforts to build the Farooqia Islamic Center on Lower Sacramento Road, which would include an elementary school, worship center and library.
The San Joaquin County Planning Commission had been scheduled to consider issuing a use permit to construct the Islamic center on more than 18 acres between Harney Lane and Armstrong Road at next Thursday's Planning Commission meeting in Stockton.
But the county counsel's office recommends that the commission postpone its hearing until July 21, according to Senior Planner Jennifer Jolley.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.