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Albany, NY (2/11): Impact of New Executive Orders on Community – Q&A Forum NCPCF Legal Director Kathy Manley joined 5 other lawyers for a Q & A for the local Muslim community about the Trump Executive Orders and related issues. First, a community member spoke about his recent experience with the pitfalls of speaking to the FBI without a lawyer. Kathy followed up with a presentation about the tactics the FBI uses, underscoring the importance of NOT speaking to them without a lawyer. Two immigration attorneys spoke about the travel ban and how it is on hold now due to the 9th Circuit decision. Other attorneys spoke about the resources available to the community regarding their rights and how they are there for them. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan spoke about Albany’s commitment to diversity and its opposition to the Trump agenda. There followed a question and answer period focusing mainly on immigration questions.
Pre-Crime Reports/Pre-emptive Prosecutions/Thought Crimes/Entrapment/Material Support
nj.com (2/10): Two linked to N.J. friends in ISIS conspiracy plead guilty Munther Omar Saleh, 21, a former student at an aeronautical engineering college in Queens, and Fareed Mumuni, 22, of Staten Island, admitted to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, also known as ISIL, and to assault a federal officer. Prosecutors said the two men talked of planting bombs in Times Square, the World Trade Center and the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens, where Saleh was then a student. That plot never materialized.
Stars and Stripes (2/10): Former National Guardsman gets 11 years for trying to aid Islamic State Mohamed Bailor Jalloh says he was looking to meet a Muslim wife when he reached out to an Islamic State recruiter he had met overseas. Instead, he agreed to take part in a terrorist attack on American soil. Jalloh, a former National Guardsman, was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison for attempting to provide support to the Islamic State. Defense lawyer Joseph Flood argued that Jalloh’s behavior sprung not from radical fervor but from heavy drug use and untreated trauma from a childhood marked by rape, war and neglect. The man he thought would help him find a bride, was actually an FBI informant. Flood said that the informant pushed Jalloh toward terrorism.
Islamophobia and Civil Rights
The Washington Post (2/11): Muslim nonprofit groups are rejecting federal funds because of Trump At least four Muslim nonprofit groups have rejected more than $2 million in federal funding to fight violent extremism, citing President Trump’s rhetoric against Muslim Americans and Islam and the new administration’s policies as their reasons. In early February, Reuters reported that the Trump administration wanted to rename the Countering Violent Extremism program to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” removing the focus on domestic groups like white supremacists. The reported shift was met with alarm by Muslim groups that had already been wary of the program.
Middle East Eye (2/10): Threat of Muslim Brotherhood ban leaves community in fear US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told lawmakers last month that Washington should prioritise defeating Islamic State militants to then focus on “radical” groups, including al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The subtle reference lumping al-Qaeda, the militant organisation behind the 9/11 attacks, with a popular political movement that reaches across the Middle East and North Africa, is telling of a broader animosity toward the Muslim Brotherhood in the Trump administration, observers say. While such a designation may harm Washington’s already rocky relations with Muslims across the world, rights groups warn that it may have disastrous domestic effects – that it would enable the government to further scapegoat and crack down on Muslim American groups and individuals.
Civil Freedoms Under Threat
The Guardian (2/10): Revealed: FBI terrorism taskforce investigating Standing Rock activists The FBI is investigating political activists campaigning against the Dakota Access pipeline, diverting agents charged with preventing terrorist attacks to instead focus their attention on indigenous activists and environmentalists. Multiple officers within the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce have attempted to contact at least three people tied to the Standing Rock “water protector” movement in North Dakota. Lauren Regan, a civil rights attorney, said it also seemed likely that JTTF may have contacted other water protectors and said she worried they may not have realized their best option is to remain silent and contact a lawyer. The fact that the officers have even tried to communicate with activists is alarming to free-speech experts who argue that anti-terrorism agents have no business scrutinizing protesters.
FAIR (2/6): How Corporate Media Paved the Way for Trump’s Muslim Ban Years of Islamophobic coverage in corporate media—right-wing, centrist and “liberal”—laid the propaganda groundwork to get us here. Attention has rightly been paid to the Islamophobia industry—a loose consortium of professional far-right trolls such as Pam Geller, Frank Gaffney, Steve Emerson, Breitbart, Infowars, etc. And while these forces certainly were major factor in creating the Trump-friendly Muslim-fearing climate, it’s important not to lose sight of at least three other media phenomena that also had a major role: 1) the presentation of “terrorism” as a unique, existential threat, arbitrarily defined as applying almost exclusively to Muslim violence, 2) New Atheist liberal bigots and 3) disproportionate news coverage of the ISIS spectacle.
The Washington Post (2/9): A terrorism label that would hurt more than help Those who favor the United States designating the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, a move being considered by the Trump administration and advanced by a few members of Congress, think it will strike a singular blow against violent extremism. But they labor under an illusion. The Muslim Brotherhood is not a single, cohesive unit, but rather a sprawling organization. It does not systematically engage in terrorism, although some parts of it have turned to violence. A blanket designation would be a mistake. If the Muslim Brotherhood were so labeled, anyone in the United States or abroad who provided “material support or resources,” including something such as democracy training, would be at risk of removal from the United States, as well as financial sanctions. The possibility of this being used unfairly against Muslim groups in the United States is real, and worrisome.
Independent (2/9): If you thought Trump’s travel ban was bad, what he has planned next for American Muslims could be devastating The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act is designed to “protect against the violent jihad carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates both in the United States and the rest of the world”. Formally branding the Brotherhood a terror group, Cruz says, will enable “the US to take action that could stifle the funding they receive to promote their terrorist activities”. Blacklisting an Egyptian group with alleged links to terrorism has a direct impact on American citizens because these “affiliates” encompass several US Muslim advocacy organisations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA). If the idea of branding an advocacy organisation a “terrorist” group sounds far-fetched, consider this: in 2012 the largest Muslim charity in the United States, the Holy Land Foundation, was shut down, its assets frozen and five of its leaders arrested by the FBI.
Flint Taylor in Truthout (2/10): With Executive Order on Policing, Trump Declares Racialized War on Dissent A recent executive order gave the recently confirmed Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions a carte blanche to bring down the wrath of the federal government on anyone who is unfortunate enough to have a confrontation with a cop, a prison guard, a border patrol officer or who knows who else outfitted with a badge and carrying a gun. the details that follow in cold and calculating procession, the order, at bottom, takes aim at protesters, most urgently the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, BLM protesters across the nation, people protesting the Muslim ban and many others who practice acts of civil disobedience that bring them into conflict with law enforcement. Wrapped in “law and order” and protecting the police, the next target after those who practice civil disobedience may well be the millions who have been taking to the streets.
NCPCF Mission Established in October 2010, the NCPCF is a coalition of national and local organizations as well as prominent individuals, whose mission is: To educate the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms in the society, and the abuses of prisoners within the U.S. criminal justice system especially after 9/11, and to advocate for the preservation of those freedoms and to defend those rights according to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related UN Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions.
___________________________________________________ Member Organizations American Muslim Alliance (AMA) – Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) – Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) – Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) – Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) – Defending Dissent Foundation (DDF) – Desis, Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) – Friends of HumaIssuen Rights (FHR) – International Action Center (IAC) – Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice (ICNA-CSJ) -Muslim Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) – Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) – National Lawyers Guild (NLG) – National Liberty Fund (NLF) – The Peace Thru Justice Foundation (PTJF) – Project Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims (Project SALAM) – United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) – Universal Justice Foundation (UJF).