Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed until July



Ottawa imam gets visa to stay
Last Updated: Thursday, April 8, 2010 | 8:45 AM ET
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CBC News
Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed can stay in Canada until July 2011. (Ottawa Muslim Association)

The spiritual leader of the Ottawa Mosque won’t have to leave Canada part way through his contract after all.

Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed, who is from Egypt, had been ordered to leave the country or face deportation after his most recent visa application was denied.

But after receiving a letter from immigration officials, he wrote to Gordon O’Connor, Conservative MP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills.

He received a new visa and work permit in the mail Wednesday, confirmed Idris Ben-Tahir, a member of the mosque. It allows Syed and his family to stay in Canada until July 2011, when his contract expires.

“He’s quite pleased with it,” Tahir said.

The arrival of Syed’s new visa comes just eight days after Immigration Minister Jason Kenney promised Syed’s case, which had been raised with Kenney by O’Connor, would be reviewed.

Ben-Tahir said members of the mosque had been quite anxious about Syed’s immigration troubles.

The mosque, just off Scott Street near Tunney’s Pasture, recruited Syed from Egypt in 2008 following an extensive search for a new spiritual leader. His salary is paid by the Egyptian government.

Members of the mosque blamed his visa issues on an internal squabble over Syed’s views, which some people think are not modern enough.

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