Monday, October 3, 2011

Advocacy group tells Muslims to know their rights when talking to police

Janelle Irwin | WMNF News

The Tampa Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, has received a startling number of complaints from members of the Muslim community claiming they have been harassed by the FBI. In a workshop yesterday residents were taught how to handle encounters with law enforcement.
Hassan Shibly, executive director for CAIR’s Tampa chapter, said harassment has always been an issue, but the frequency of Muslims being hassled by law enforcement has increased.
"We’ve received calls from various, a lot of prominent Muslim community members, people who never expected to be harassed by the government, starting to have the FBI right at their door step and being questioned. One got delayed from getting on a flight until the FBI came and questioned him. And we really feel that opens people to criminal liability when they’ve done nothing wrong."
Shibly said some people say too much to police officers because they have nothing to hide. But in an environment where Muslims are often presumed guilty just because of their religion, he says being careful is important.
"Obviously, you know, the police get away with doing a lot of things to people that don’t know their rights. Why? Because they don’t stand up and they don’t protect. And we’ve seen, I mean you tube these days, the advent of social media you see many instances of police brutality and abuse. And again there’s a lot of good. We don’t want it to look like we’re just focusing on the negative, but we have to focus on the negative so we can prevent the negative."
He added, it would be unpatriotic to not stand up for your rights...(Read Full Article & Listen to Radio Interview)

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