Mar 25, 2007 - albanyia    Comments Off

Know thy rights… else perish.

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Salams,

Today in Albany there was a seminar at Albany Law School on Minority rights. Speakers were Khurrum Wahid from CAIR and David Soares, DA of Albany County.

It was interesting that the DA agreed to speak, but being a minority himself and this year being an election year? I think might have influenced him. He basically spoke about his background being the son of immigrants and why he chose law enforcement as a career. He also made some half-hearted attempts to defend the government and politics later on when other issues came up and ended with the ‘ole “us citizens need to get involved to make a change” stuff, but all in all it was nice he came to speak.

Next, they had three law students come up and do a skit on how law enforcement agents usually knock on a Muslim’s door and how they intimidate and coerce their way in and usually the poor immigrant doesn’t know any better, lets them in and offers them chai. The FBI agents then start their good cop/bad cop routine and begin asking “those” questions, i.e. Where do you work? What Mosque do you attend? How religious are you? Are you a terrorist? Do you support terrorism? What did you think of 9-11? What organizations are you affiliated with? Do you know this person? Etc etc.

Khurrum said as soon as we’ve let them in we’ve waived our fourth amendment right of search/seizure because now anything they see in plain view becomes evidence, including books, magazines, possibly anything. He cited a case in VA where they introduced into evidence a book (by a well known scholar but because of his whole the-Palestinians-have-the-right-to-defend-themselves fatwa is now considered jihadist literature). Then of course the agents start asking questions casually and when the immigrant is confused or doesn’t want to answer, they bring up the ‘Do you have something to hide?’ and the poor person keeps talking, thus waiving their 5th amendment right to remain silent. They continue to interrogate the person by asking more personal questions on their religious beliefs and the person continues answering thus also waiving their right to religious freedom.

So basically Khurrum’s point is that we are waiving away our rights and this needs to stop. He said our mantra should be “Just say No” when the FBI comes to our doors to question us. It is our right and it is cooperating with law enforcement. We don’t have anything to hide, we just want to go by the Constitution of the United States. He said we must not capitulate to bullying or threats like they will treat us harshly or investigate us more.

He explained that all of these questions and answers are entered into evidence and can be used against us. A perfect example is that he asked an audience member “Are you a member of a terrorist organization?” and of course audience member says “NO”. But does he even know what they consider to be a terrorist organization? Let’s say they come back next week and ask are you a member of XYZ let’s say Muslim Student’s Association and audience member says “Yes”, this organization can be on their list and they now can prosecute you under the code of lying to a federal officer which carries up to 5 years in prison!! Something I didn’t know that he also mentioned is that it is permissible for law enforcement to use deceit and deception in their questioning in order to elicit a certain response from you. Under threat, a person might then say anything about anyone in the community. It’s an ugly spiral.

David Soares acknowledged that law enforcement are allowed to use deception and he also defended their tactics and said that their job is to get information and they are allowed to get it in whatever manner possible.

There you have it. We have seen, with this case in Albany and other cases against Muslims across the Nation, that they are targeting Muslims and they will continue to single mindedly pursue convictions at all costs because there is a need to prove that they are winning the “War on Terror”.

So let’s get busy and try to see how we can defend ourselves.

IMPORTANT: Print this document and post it in your Mosque and put it on your fridge:

What To Do If the FBI or Department of Homeland Security Wants to Question You.

PDFs and in URDU, ARABIC, SPANISH, SOMALI, PUNJABI, and HINDI.

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