PHILADELPHIA -- Customers usually enter Tariq Hussain's jewelry store browsing for diamonds or gold rings. Recently, he was visited by people looking for something much more sinister.
Hussain's Intrigue Jewelers kiosk in suburban Pittsburgh was one of several across the nation searched by FBI agents hunting for ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network.
"They took everything, my paperwork, bills, my computer, my checks," said Hussain, 27, a recently discharged U.S. Army mechanic. "I told them, 'I don't have any links to anything like that."'
About 75 stores have been searched by investigators hoping to discover financial backing for terrorist groups, said a law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The raids have taken place in several cities over the past two weeks, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York. Dozens of foreigners, mostly from Pakistan, have been detained or questioned.
The shop owners have been asked about their accounting practices and whether they send money to any foreign organizations on a regular basis. They also are asked whether they support al-Qaida or know anyone who does, officials said.
Immigration attorney Neil Rambana, who is representing three Pakistani men and a woman from Nepal arrested in a raid at the Governor's Square mall in Tallahassee, Fla., said the FBI and INS were on a "fishing expedition."
"There is no proof and no one has presented any evidence that would put these people under suspicion," Rambana said. "This was all about abusing people's rights in the hopes that there were a few guilty people among them."
A U.S. official said more than a dozen people are still in detention following the raids.
Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said immediately after the raids that federal agencies were "looking at illegal immigrants working at kiosks," but he refused to elaborate.
The largest raids took place between June 28 and July 2. Agents swept jewelry stores in Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina. Since then, smaller raids have taken place in Texas, California and Massachusetts, officials said.
Most of the raids involved Intrigue Jewelers franchises, which are licensed through Gold Concept Inc., a Florida company owned by Orlando businessman Arif Rajan.
Rajan's attorney, Phillip Calandrino, said neither the company nor its owner have terrorist ties.
He said Rajan, a native of Pakistan and a U.S. citizen since 1991, has been cooperating with the FBI for several months and has voluntarily turned over company records to investigators.
The raids have sparked outrage among some members of Muslim communities.
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