WATCH: Hamas-linked CAIR “warns” Muslims of FBI questioning over al-Qaeda threat
Investigators from the FBI interviewed Muslims in North Texas this weekend after warnings that al-Qaeda may target the state on the eve of Election Day, a Muslim community leader said.
The North Texas Council on American-Islamic Relations has received reports that Muslims from Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida and Texas were questioned by FBI agents, according to Alia Salem, the group’s director.
“It was made apparent to us that the FBI has a list of a couple hundred people they are wanting to visit and ask a series of eight generic questions intended to drum up information about the attacks,” Salem said.
The North Texas branch of CAIR has confirmed that three interviews took place over the weekend and that it received reports of five more.
A representative in the FBI’s Dallas field office declined to comment on the reports.
On Friday, U.S. intelligence officials alerted joint terrorism task forces that al-Qaeda could be planning the attacks the day before the election, according to CBS News. Authorities are taking the threat seriously, a source told CBS, though it could be “aspirational” because it lacked specificity.
“The FBI and [Department of Homeland Security], working with our federal, state and local counterparts, share and assess intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety,” the unnamed source told CBS News.
Salem warned the Muslim community about the investigation in a video posted on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday. She said the interviews are nothing to worry about but that Muslims should be aware of their civil rights before FBI investigators knock on their doors.
“The FBI is important and serves an important role in America,” she said. “We’re not here to inhibit their work, but to prepare the community in how to address [investigators].”
If an FBI investigator tries to interview a member of the Muslim community without an attorney present, Salem advised them to request the investigator’s business card and let them know that an attorney will schedule the meeting with them.
Salem said CAIR would provide members of the Muslim community an attorney free of charge should they need one.
“Muslims, along with fellow Americans, are committed to doing their job in helping to make our community safer,” she said. “That includes reporting suspicious activity. But for the Muslim community to be targeted as if we are guilty is inappropriate. If [law enforcement] wants to communicate with specific individuals, there should be no hindrance in doing that with an attorney.”
Since posting the video on Facebook, CAIR has received 17 phone calls from Muslim community members who had been contacted by the FBI, 14 of which were from people in North Texas, Salem said. That’s in addition to the three reports that prompted her warning.
“We are still verifying the validity of a few of the more recent calls, which must be noted, but that’s the raw data,” Salem said.
In a written statement, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that his office is working with law enforcement officials and monitoring the purported terrorist threat in coordination with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“Texans should go about their daily lives as usual, but remain vigilant over the next several days and report any suspicious activity to state or local law enforcement,” Abbott said. “The State of Texas will continue to do everything it can to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.”
The DPS issued a statement Friday that said the department is “constantly” in touch with law enforcement and intelligence officials, including the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
“We can also assure Texans that we adjust our level of vigilance to meet any potential or emerging threats, and will also adjust our security measures as threats warrant,” the department’s statement said.
Original article courtesy of Dallas News