U.S. Muslims Shouldn’t Talk With FBI Unless They Have a Lawyer, Activist Tells Senators
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
By Penny Starr
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said at the March 29, 2011 hearing focusing on American Muslims and their civil rights that it is the civic duty of every American to help fight domestic terror threats. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
(CNSNews.com) – A Muslim civil rights activist told Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) that she stands by the advice posted on her Web site that tells Muslims not to speak with the FBI or other law enforcement personnel unless a lawyer is present.
Kyl said he was “stunned” that Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, would “issue those kind of instructions,” given the connection between many domestic terror attacks and radical Islam and the importance of cooperation from American Muslims to help thwart those attacks.
“I would think that Muslim Americans would feel a special obligation to help intelligence agencies root this out,” Kyl said Tuesday at a hearing on the civil rights of American Muslims held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights.
On the home page of the Muslim Advocates Web site under the heading “URGENT COMMUNITY ALERT: Seek Legal Advice Before Talking to FBI,” the warning reads:
“The FBI is contacting Pakistani, South-Asian and other Muslim Americans to solicit information and advice about addressing violent extremism. Muslim Advocates strongly urges individuals not to speak with law enforcement officials without the presence or advice of an attorney.”
The two-page alert states cooperation with law enforcement without a lawyer present “places you and your family at great risk of criminal prosecution or adverse immigration consequences (including deportation),” and “there is no legal obligation to speak to law enforcement officials.”
Farhana Khera, president and executive director of the Muslim civil rights group Muslim Advocates, defended her advice to American Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement unless a lawyer is present at the March 29, 2011 Senate hearing. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
The alert further says, “If approached by the FBI or law enforcement, ask for their business cards and say that your lawyer will contact them.”
Kyl recited a long list of cases from the last couple of years involving suspects with ties to radical Islam, including American Muslims who apparently had been radicalized. These included the following: