Dr. Zehra Attari is — or was — a meticulous woman. When she got behind the wheel of her gray 2000 Honda Accord, she locked the door, fastened her seat belt and often called her husband on her cell phone.

That call didn’t happen the evening of Monday, Nov. 7, as the San Jose resident left her medical office in Oakland around 5 p.m. to drive five miles to a medical insurance conference in Alameda.

Attari generally drove out the wrong way on a one-way alley behind her office at 27th Avenue and International Boulevard. A nursing teacher saw her get into the car that night. But this time, if she left by the alley, it was the wrong way to nowhere.

“How does a person disappear into thin air?” asks Annie Dandavati, a leader in the Indian community in San Jose. “I think that’s the ultimate question. . .”

So we’re back at square one: The Council on American-Islamic Relations has begun an online petition asking that the FBI get involved in the case. Among other things, they’re worried by the possibility that Dr. Attari was singled out because of her race or Muslim religion.

The outreach director for CAIR, Sameena Usman, told me that the threshold for FBI involvement was evidence of foul play. But there’s a more fundamental reason why the CAIR petition is right: The FBI has the resources to solve this one. And this is no case to forget. A doctor shouldn’t disappear into thin air.


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