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Report: Local Arab Leader Stripped Of FBI Award

Controversy Apparently Involves Upcoming Deportation Proceeding

POSTED: 1:42 p.m. EDT October 8, 2003
UPDATED: 1:53 p.m. EDT October 8, 2003

A local Arab-American leader who was scheduled to receive a national award from the FBI was suddenly stripped of the honor, according to Local 4 reports.

Imad Hamad, of Dearborn, who is the director of the Midwest region of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, was scheduled to receive the 2003 Director's Award for exceptional public service.

Hamad says he was called last week by Detroit FBI Director Willie Hulon, who said a flight attendant who died on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, would instead be the honoree at the awards ceremony.

Hamad says there was no conflict over the change in recipients for the award, but a statement released by Cassandra Chandler, the FBI's assistant director of public affairs, says otherwise, Local 4 reported.

The following is the statement released by Chandler on Tuesday:

Mr. Imad Hamad, director of the Midwest Region of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and a community leader in Detroit, Mich., was a nominee selected for the 2003 Director's Award for exceptional public service. It has recently come to our attention that evidence referencing Mr. Hamad has been filed in connection with an upcoming deportation proceeding against associates of his. Accordingly, this award has been withdrawn."

Hamad referred to the statement as puzzling, Local 4 reported. He told Local 4 that he would be shocked if that was the reason behind the FBI's change in plans.

Hamad told Local 4 that in his line of work -- being the director of a local civil-rights organization -- he has had several associates who may or may not have been subject to deportation.

The national and local offices of the FBI were not available for comment on the apparent award controversy.

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