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Jax Heights family faces deportation

Judge Merlanda Tadal, who could have ordered Shahina Parveen, 50, and Sanya Siraj, 19, out of the country, set their bonds at $20,000 for the mother and $15,000 for her daughter during a hearing Tuesday, representatives of the family said. Once they post bond they will be able to remain free pending an asylum request.The pair were arrested in their Jackson Heights home along with Parveen's husband, Abdul Rehman, 54, 12 hours after Shahawar Matin Siraj, 25, was sentenced Jan. 8 in Brooklyn federal court on conspiracy charges. The family moved to Queens in 1999 after Rehman was beaten in the family's native Pakistan in an incident they believe was related to their faith in the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam, which many Muslims consider heretical.Rehman and Siraj worked at an Islamic bookstore in Brooklyn until the younger man was arrested in 2004 and charged with four conspiracy counts.Fahd Ahmed, a family organizer for Desis Rising up and Moving, an advocacy group for South Asians in Jackson Heights, said the mother and daughter had overstayed their visas, but it was highly unusual to arrest individuals on such charges. The father had applied for asylum, but the request had been denied. He had received a stay of deportation, Ahmed said. "It has been a disaster for the family this week," said Martin Stolar, Siraj's defense attorney, when the mother, father and daughter were taken into custody.The arrests were taken to "prevent media coverage," of the case, Ahmed said. Sanya Siraj was planning to attend LaGuardia Community College, but the financial strains created by the trial prevented her from attending the school, Ahmed said.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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