A Muslim civil rights group plans to ask for a federal Justice Department investigation into the treatment of a Muslim U.S. Air Force veteran who recently returned to Oklahoma.
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma City, said a news conference regarding the issue is set for 11 a.m. Thursday at the CAIR-OK office.
Soltani said that the veteran, Saadiq Long, alleges that since his return to Oklahoma, he and his family have been subjected to repeated unwanted encounters with federal law enforcement authorities, including being handcuffed and detained at gunpoint. He and his sister are scheduled to appear at the news conference.
“It's almost surreal for him as to why they would do this to him and his family,” Soltani said. “Unfortunately, his life has been flipped upside down.”
Long, a McAlester native, returned from the Middle East to Oklahoma on Nov. 19, after apparently being placed on the U.S. government's “no-fly” list.
Long, 43, had made several attempts to return to the United States to visit his terminally ill mother, who lives in McAlester. Long has lived in the Middle East since 2000, where he teaches English in Qatar.
Long was prevented from boarding a flight to the U.S. in April and was told that he needed to get in touch with the U.S. Embassy. He has said embassy officials told him to contact the Transportation Security Administration, but he received no answers from that agency about why he was placed on the government's “no-fly” list. The FBI at the time would not confirm or deny whether Long was on the government's “no-fly” list.
Interrogation in Detroit
Soltani said Long was questioned by federal officials when he arrived in Detroit from Qatar on Nov. 19, but he was not surprised by the interrogation because of his previous failed attempts to return to the U.S. Soltani said CAIR officials also were not shocked by the interrogation because it has happened to other American Muslims.
“That's something we kind of expected,” he said. “But it wasn't anything compared to what happened when he got home.”