DULLES, Va. - Federal officials have reportedly halted the transportation of 750 pounds of Quranic tiles from Iran that were headed to a Manassas mosque – and a Muslim organization is demanding that they be released.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Treasury are holding up the transfer at Dulles International Airport – and they’re threatening to destroy the tiles.
The tiles were intended to decorate a niche inside the mosque indicating the direction of prayer.
Federal officials say the mosque needed an import permit that was supposed to be obtained before the shipment of tiles arrived. Imam Abu Nahidan says many of the decorative tiles were brought to the United States the same way without any trouble.
According to CAIR, an email from U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the tiles must be re-exported, or they will be destroyed.
"CBP has determined this shipment must be re-exported or destroyed. It can take several months to obtain an import permit from OFAC if they even issue one. Import permits from OFAC are supposed to be obtained before shipments arrive to the US. It is your decision to re-export or destroy, but please let the airline know which decision you make."
US Customs provided this statement to FOX 5:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforces more than 400 laws and regulations for more than 40 different agencies, including the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). OFAC enforces economic and trade sanctions in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, including restrictions on imports from Iran. On June 21, CBP officers placed a hold on the import shipment of tiles from Iran and sought a determination from OFAC. On June 30, OFAC determined that the shipment of tiles was prohibited from importation pursuant to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. CBP has detained the shipment under this OFAC determination. As is often the case with trade enforcement detentions, a final disposition has not yet been determined.