July 26, 2002

DETROIT (AP) - A Secret Service agent admitted scrawling ``Islam is Evil'' and ``Christ is King'' on a Muslim prayer calendar while searching the home of a man charged with smuggling bogus checks into the United States, authorities said.

The incident occurred when agents searched the Dearborn home of Omar Shishani, who has pleaded innocent to bringing $12 million in forged cashiers checks on a flight from Indonesia.

``This type of unprofessional behavior by a federal agent will not be tolerated,'' Jeffrey Collins, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said Thursday.

Shishani's brother, Abdallah, said he and his wife found the writing on a prayer calendar attached to the refrigerator. Abdallah Shishani, 44, and his wife have been staying at the house since Omar Shishani's arrest, baby-sitting the man's 8-year-old twins.

Collins would not identify the agent but said he had been a Secret Service special agent for about 10 years. The agent was put on leave pending the investigation, and officials said he could be fired and face criminal charges.

``It's outrageous that one of our law enforcers who swears to serve and protect is making religious slurs against individuals,'' said Omar Shishani's attorney, Nabih Ayad.

The Jordanian-born Shishani was arrested July 17. Authorities say they found nine phony cashiers checks in his bags and that he later told them he could provide information about terrorism and that the name on the checks might be that of a member of al-Qaida.

Ayad denied those allegations and said his client didn't know the checks were fraudulent. He said Shishani is a broker who was in Indonesia on business.

Shishani is jailed without bond on charges of possessing counterfeit securities and smuggling merchandise into the United States. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights and advocacy group, had asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate the graffiti incident.

``We are pleased with the Secret Service's quick response in initiating an investigation into this matter,'' spokeswoman Hodan Hassan said. ``I think it sends a clear signal that such bigotry will not be tolerated.''

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