(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/7/12) — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division to investigate acts of “coercion and intimidation” allegedly used by the FBI’s Portland Field Office to pressure Muslim citizens into giving up their constitutional rights if they wish to return to the United States from overseas.
CAIR: Probe Sought After 2 Barred from Returning to US (AP)
Yesterday, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent a letter to division head Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez about the case of Mustafa Elogbi, an American citizen who was recently detained by British authorities at the behest of the FBI and prevented from returning to the United States following humanitarian work in Libya. It is the third such case involving agents from the FBI’s Portland Field Office reported to CAIR in the past six months.
In his letter to Perez, CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas wrote in part:
“I am concerned that the FBI Field Office in Portland has worked through foreign intermediaries to unlawfully detain American citizens and to place unlawful conditions on the right of citizens to return to the United States. …
“In this case, British customs officials have been enlisted to do what the FBI would not be allowed to do in the United States — to detain Mr. Elogbi without due process and to intimidate him into giving up his constitutional right to silence.
“The pattern of unconstitutional activity emanating from the FBI’s Field Office in Portland warrants the scrutiny of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.”
Last week, CAIR called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intervene in the case of an American citizen of Libyan origin who was barred from returning to the United States and interrogated by the FBI about his religious beliefs, including his belief in “Shariah” (Islamic principles).
SEE: American Aid Worker in Libya: US Bars My Return (MSNBC)
Last September, CAIR reported that an Oregon Muslim who had to travel by ship to Europe because he is on the U.S. government’s “no-fly” list was detained in the United Kingdom when he disembarked in Southampton.
CAIR: U.S. Muslim on No-Fly List Detained in U.K.
Following recent revelations that law enforcement and military personnel received biased training about Islam and Muslims, CAIR called for a “top to bottom” reform of that training.
CAIR: DOJ Analyst Claims Muslims Threaten ‘Our Values’
Last year, CAIR filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice and the FBI seeking a court order to allow a Virginia Muslim teenager detained in Kuwait and placed on a U.S. government no-fly list to return to the United States.
CAIR: Va. Muslim on No-Fly List Returning to U.S.
CAIR Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief
CAIR has assisted a number of other American Muslim citizens who have been stranded overseas by government actions.
CAIR: Embassy Returns Passport to U.S. Muslim Stuck in Kuwait
CAIR Video: FBI Prevents Va. Muslim from Returning to U.S.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org