Eight men kneeled in prayers led by their imam, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, when a loud pounding shook the locked door of the mosque, a modest house behind a green fence in a residential neighborhood in west Miami-Dade County.

It was just after 6 a.m. Saturday, and dozens of heavily armed federal agents and police had the place surrounded.

"Open up! Police!" they shouted.

Minutes later the bearded, 76-year-old Khan was placed in handcuffs. He and two of his four sons – one in Margate and another picked up in Los Angeles – were under arrest, charged with funneling money to the Pakistani Taliban in what federal agents said was a long-running conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap people overseas in support of a foreign terrorist organization.

One of the imam's sons, Izhar Khan, a 24-year-old North Lauderdale resident, was arrested in the parking lot of the Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen mosque in Margate, where he is imam, just before the 6 a.m. prayer.

Agents also seized computers from the mosque office.

The other son, Miami resident Irfan Khan, 37, was awakened by agents at a hotel in Los Angeles at 3 a.m. Pacific time and taken into custody there.

All three men are American citizens who are originally from Pakistan, authorities said.

"Despite being an imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace,'' said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "Instead, as today's charges show, he acted with others to support terrorists to further acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming."

Three others named in the indictment remain at large in Pakistan. They were identified as Ali Rehman, also known as Faisal Ali Rehman; Amina Khan, also known as Amina Bibi, who is the daughter of Hafiz Khan; and her son, Alam Zeb, Khan's grandson.

Prosecutors said there is no link between today's arrests and the recent death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

The Pakistani Taliban is closely allied with al-Qaida and believed to be responsible for recent attacks against police and military targets in that country. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban was responsible for the suicide attack in northwestern Pakistan on Friday that killed 87 cadets from a government paramilitary force, according to Pakistani officials.

The group has also been linked to the Times Square car bombing attempt in New York in May 2010.

Family and friends of the Khans were shocked by the arrests.

"None of my family supports the Taliban," said Ikram Khan, 40, another of Khan's sons, who arrived at the Miami mosque Saturday morning in the blue taxi van he drives from a base at Miami International Airport. "We support this country."

Arif Baig, 50, also a native of Pakistan, said the allegations were unbelievable.

"There is not even a 1 percent chance that he would do this," said Baig, who runs a Little Havana convenience store.

Shameem Akhtar, 69, who was inside the mosque when the raid took place, said that after a nervous worshipper broke his prayer – contrary to Muslim tradition – and responded to the pounding on the door, those inside were confronted by 25 to 30 heavily armed law enforcement officers.

After a respectful pause in which agents allowed the prayer to end -- and removed their shoes – Khan stepped outside the mosque, at 7350 NW Third St., and was handcuffed.