A judge denied bail today for the co-founder of an Islamic charity that is suspected of funneling money to al Qaeda, saying the defendant is probably "a danger to the security of the United States."
Even if Rabih Haddad is not a threat, he might flee the country, immigration Judge Robert Newberry added.
Haddad's attorney, Ashraf Nubani, said he will appeal.
Haddad, 41, has been jailed since Dec. 14 on a visa violation. The Ann Arbor resident, a Lebanese citizen, helped create the Global Relief Foundation, which the U.S. government has accused of providing money to al Qaeda.
Haddad and his organization have denied any involvement in terrorism, and neither he nor Global Relief has been charged with a terrorism-related crime.
Haddad is seeking political asylum in the United States to avoid deportation for himself and his family. The judge has said he expects to rule on the asylum request within a couple of weeks.
During Haddad's two-day bail hearing, his attorneys argued that the government failed to show that Haddad is a threat to national security or is connected to al Qaeda.
Immigration and Naturalization Service attorney Marsha Nettles argued that Haddad might flee, in part because his wife's family owns homes in other countries.
Also today, the Bush administration urged a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling that Haddad's deportation hearings be opened to the public. The government said that opening the hearings could allow terrorists to gain information that could threaten U.S. security.