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Muslim-Americans in eight states were questioned over the weekend about a possible pre-election terror attack

By Ashley Collman, For Daily Mail, On 07 November 2016, Read Original
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  • Council on American Islamic Relations says they heard from Muslims in eight states over the weekend, who said they were questioned by the FBI 
  • Those states include California, Washington State, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida
  • The agency is currently investigating a terror threat targeted at New York, Virginia and Texas for Monday  
  • The threats are tied to an al Qaeda leader who was killed in a drone strike last month
  • Attorneys for CAIR said the people who were questioned were asked if they knew any of the leaders killed in the airstrikes  
  • Attorney Hassan Shibley said there did not appear to be any connection between the people and the threat aside from religion and ethnicity
  • 'That’s the equivalent of the FBI visiting churchgoing Christians because someone overseas was threatening to blow up an abortion clinic,' he said

A civil rights organization says Muslim-Americans in eight states were questioned over the weekend over a pre-election terror threat. 

The FBI announced last week that it had received a threat from al Qaeda, planned for Monday. The threat targeted the states of New York, Virginia and Texas, but no further details were released. 

Over the weekend, the Council on American Islamic Relations received reports from Muslim-Americans in eight states, who said they were approached by FBI agents who wanted to speak to them about the alleged threat. Those states included California, Washington State, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kansas Oklahoma, Florida and Texas. 


Hassan Shibly, a lawyer and director of CAIR in Florida, told the Washington Post that he received six calls about FBI agents asking questions this weekend.

Shibly says his clients were asked a series of eight questions, many of them related directly to al Qaeda. 

The threat was allegedly related to  Faruq al Qatani, a top al Qaeda leader who was killed in a U.S. drone strike on October 23. 

The people who were interviewed this weekend were asked if they knew anyone killed in the strikes, and if they knew anyone who might want to harm Americans at home or abroad. 

Shibly said there appeared to be no connection between those interviewed (who included a youth group leader and several wealthy doctors) and the threat, other than their religion or ethnicity. All of those interviewed appeared to be of Afghani or Pakistani descent. 

'The FBI actions . . . to conduct a sweep of American Muslim leaders the weekend before the election is completely outrageous and . . . borderline unconstitutional,' Shibly told the Washington Post. 'That’s the equivalent of the FBI visiting churchgoing Christians because someone overseas was threatening to blow up an abortion clinic. It’s that preposterous and outrageous.'


Shibly said he contacted the FBI agents that reached out to his clients, and they said that the names and questions were given to them by FBI headquarters.  They said that the people who were questioned were not considered suspects. Nevertheless, Shibly says such sweeps are dangerous to Muslim-American relations. 

'Unfortunately we’re dealing with an environment that’s not very friendly to American Muslims,' he said. 'The environment is very hostile to the American Muslim community.'

After receiving the reports that Muslim-Americans were being questioned by the FBI in the lead-up to the election, CAIR officials around the country sent out warnings and reminded Muslims to call for an attorney right away if an FBI agent shows up at their door step.

'Our law enforcement is very important. The FBI serves an important purpose in our country,' Alia Salem, North Texas CAIR director, said in an online video. 'But we have to do so observing our rights and helping to protect our families and our communities from any unwarranted aggression or profiling.'

When the FBI announced the threat last week, they said it was vague and that they were still assessing its credibility. 

Both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued statements saying they were 'vigilant and well-postured' to defend against a terror attack and that they were working with other agencies 'to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety'.  

Officials are monitoring incoming international flights and coming up with a list of possible suspects in the New York area. 


Texas was allegedly on the list of targeted states because terrorists could use its southern border with Mexico to illegally cross into the country. 

Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement on Friday, warning his citizens to be alert and vigilant and to report any suspicious activity.  

The potential for clashes has already darkened a rancorous presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, on top of the threat of computer hacking and fears that Russia or other state actors could spread political misinformation online or tamper with voting.

And while federal and state authorities are beefing up cyber defenses against electronic threats to voting systems before Election Day, others are taking additional steps to guard against possible civil unrest or violence. 








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