October 1, 2010
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Alarmed by FBI Raids of Peace Activists' Homes
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today expressed alarm over recent FBI raids on the homes of nearly a dozen peace activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. CAIR has also received reports of related FBI intimidation of activists in California, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
The raids were conducted under the pretext of investigating potential "material support" and "terrorism" charges. CAIR executives have expressed concern that the raids were an attempt to silence dissent and chill free speech, particularly regarding U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South America.
The targeted individuals included leaders of the Arab American Action Network, the Colombia Action Network, and the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee.
"Even the Justice Department's Inspector General criticized FBI domestic terrorism investigations of nonviolent left-leaning groups," said CAIR Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. "The recent FBI raids on well-known peace activists raise concerns that individuals may be targeted based on political rather than security considerations."
"These raids shine a light on an overbroad material support statute that can easily result in First Amendment activities becoming criminal," said CAIR-Minnesota President Lori Saroya. "Groups with political opinions, whether liberal or conservative, must be vocal in expressing concern over the raids."