A civil rights organization for American Muslims says the FBI questioned Muslims in at least eight states over the weekend seeking information about a possible threat from al-Qaeda to carry out pre-election terrorist attacks.
The individuals were asked eight questions, including several specific to al-Qaeda, said Hassan Shibly, a lawyer and the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida.
He said his clients were asked whether they knew the al-Qaeda leaders killed in U.S. military airstrikes last month, who U.S. officials believe were connected to the alleged plot, and whether they knew of anyone who wished to cause harm to Americans at home or abroad. Among those questioned, according to Shibly, were a youth group leader and several wealthy doctors.
Shibly said he was not aware of anything that connected the targeted individuals to each other or to the alleged threat, aside from their religion and ethnicity. It appeared only Muslims of Afghani and Pakistani descent were questioned, he said.
“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 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.”
The nature of the threat was vague, and officials said its credibility remained under investigation. Officials said law enforcement in New York, Texas and Virginia had been notified of the possible danger. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued statements that said they were “vigilant and well-postured” to defend against terrorist attacks in the United States and were working daily with law enforcement and intelligence partners “to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety.”
Muslim Americans in at least eight states told the Council on American-Islamic Relations that FBI agents came to their homes during the weekend seeking information about the terrorism threat. Several of the states — including Florida and Pennsylvania — are viewed as crucial swing states heading into the presidential election Tuesday.
Source: The Washington Post