(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/13/2013) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate an apparent act of retaliation against a local community leader by FBI agents at the Minnesota field office.
CAIR says the alleged retaliation, in the form of an FBI visit to the home of the director of the civil rights group's Minnesota chapter Lori Saroya, followed just two business days after public disclosure by that chapter of an FBI investigation into alleged intimidation tactics used on a local Somali Muslim by two agents.
In a letter to Attorney General Holder, CAIR National Legal Director Nadhira Al-Khalili wrote in part:
” later informed CAIR-MN's Civil Rights Director that the purpose of the visit was 'community outreach.' However, upon knowledge and belief, no other neighboring homes were visited during this community outreach effort.
“When CAIR-MN's later called and asked if he was assigned to the division's community outreach program, responded that he was not and stated that he is a field law enforcement agent who wanted to speak to a member of Ms. Saroya's household for a 'meet and greet.'
“The FBI has a well-documented history of using community outreach methods as a means to coerce, threaten and intimidate members of the Muslim community. Given the above facts, it is difficult for us to reach any conclusion other than that visit was prompted by what the field office may have perceived as negative media attention. Further, we believe reasonable people can conclude the visit was an attempt to intimidate a highly-regarded community leader.”
Al-Khalili's letter called for a formal investigation of the alleged retaliation and of the FBI's ongoing use of threats and other intimidating tactics to coerce the members of the Muslim and Somali communities into becoming informants.
The letter also noted that CAIR-MN and its staff have received numerous awards recognizing their positive contributions to the state.
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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Â CONTACT: CAIR National Legal Director Nadhira Al-Khalili, 540-514-2093, email@example.com; CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org