Feds to Seize Mosques, Skyscraper Tied to Iran

Federal prosecutors seized four Shiite Muslim mosques and a 36-story New York skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization with suspected ties to the Iranian government Thursday. The Alavi Foundation, which is part of the alleged front company Assa Corp., is being asked to forfeit all of their U.S. properties, totaling $500 million in assets. The foundation is being accused of laundering money back to Iran's state-owned Bank Melli, with which the U.S. has outlawed doing business because of its suspected role in Iran's nuclear program. The foundation provides imprisoned Muslims in the U.S. with educational literature and support for Iranian academics. There are few instances in U.S. history in which a religious place of worship has been seized, because of the First Amendment right to religious freedom.