Mohammad El-Mezain is part of the Holy Land Five, Muslim activists targeted during the Bush Administration in their attack on Muslim activists after September 11th. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Mr. El-Mezain was born in Khan Yunus, Gaza in 1953 and lived there until age 19. He moved to Egypt in 1973 and got a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. By the time he completed his college degree, Mr. El-Mezain had finished memorizing the holy Quran. He lived in several Middle Eastern countries — including Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — before finally moving to the United States in 1983.
In 1985, he received his Masters degree in Economics from Colorado State University. He moved to New Jersey in 1979 and married Fatima. The couple lived in New Jersey until 1999 after which they moved to San Diego, Calif. They currently have 8 American-born children: Ibrahim, 26; Abu-Bakr, 24; Omar, 24; Eman, 21; Othman, 20; Salsabil, 18; Tasnim, 15 and Ali, 13.
Mr. El-Mezain worked as an Imam, or a mosque leader, in Colorado and New Jersey. He worked at the southern-California branch of Holy Land Foundation from 1999 until it was shut down in 2001. Described by relatives as kind-hearted, Mr. El-Mezain has always remembered his father’s words: “Never say no to a chance to help the poor and needy.”