(SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 10/11/10) — The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on America-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) today called the FBI’s attempts to track Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old college student “outrageous” and is now seeking answers as to why Afifi was targeted in the absence of any indication that he was engaged in criminal activity.
Afifi discovered the GPS tracking device on his car last Sunday during a routine oil change. After posting pictures of the device online, he was visited by two San Jose-based FBI agents who allegedly admitted to placing the device on his car and asked for it to be returned.
SEE: Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back
CAIR-CA Video: FBI Tracking of Muslim Student a Violation of Constitutional Rights
FBI agents further questioned the young man, the son of a Bay Area community leader, about his travels to the Middle East and his friends. The agents utilized problematic tactics to coerce cooperation, despite the lack of any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Afifi. Toward the end of the questioning, the FBI agents allegedly told the man he was “boring.”
“It is outrageous that these Arab-American and Muslim community members continue to be targeted by FBI agents without any allegations or evidence of wrongdoing,” said CAIR-SFBA Programs and Outreach Director Zahra Billoo, who is also Afifi’s attorney. “My client’s encounter raises concerns that the FBI’s precious investigative resources are being squandered on domestic intelligence escapades that target innocent Americans.”
CAIR-SFBA is reminding community members that it is extremely critical to know and assert their rights when visited by FBI agents.
SEE: CAIR Alert – Know Your Rights When Visited by FBI/JTTF Agents
In the past several years, Muslim community members have complained of FBI harassment, harsh interrogation and coercive tactics and informant recruitment through FBI intimidation. CAIR-SFBA has been receiving an average of one such complaint each week in 2010.
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-SFBA Programs and Outreach Director Zahra Billoo, 626.252.0885, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com