A Muslim man is seeking answers from federal law enforcement agencies about what he describes as their harassment of him and his family since his return to Oklahoma from the Middle East.
Saadiq Long, a U.S. Air Force veteran and McAlester native, said Thursday he and his sister have been followed by the FBI and have had several unexpected and unwanted encounters with agents of the federal agency since he arrived in Oklahoma from Qatar on Nov. 19.
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Muslim civil rights group sent a letter Thursday to the federal Justice Department asking the government agency to investigate the recent treatment of Long and his family.
The letter, written by Gadeir Abbas, an attorney for the civil rights group, requested that the justice department “investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the dangerous and illegal cowboy antics” of the FBI's field office in Oklahoma City.
Rick Rains, spokesman for the FBI in Oklahoma City, gave a brief statement Thursday.
“The FBI does not confirm or deny ongoing investigations. The FBI has a responsibility to protect American citizens. In carrying out these responsibilities, the FBI does not violate the civil rights of citizens or in any way harass citizens or other individuals,” Rains said.
Soltani, Long and Long's sister Ava Anderson, of Oklahoma City, spoke at a news conference held by CAIR's Oklahoma chapter Thursday at its office at 1112 NW 23.
Anderson talked about being closely followed while driving her brother around McAlester, where he is visiting his mother, who has congestive heart failure. Anderson said the family wanted to have a peaceful time with Long home from the Middle East, where he resides and teaches English.
Instead, she said FBI agents came to their mother's home, and the family also noticed they were being followed on more than one occasion.
The day after Thanksgiving, Anderson said, she and her brother were followed as they attempted to leave McAlester for Oklahoma City. She said she became concerned and drove to the McAlester Police Department, where she was greeted by numerous police who drew guns on her and her brother and also placed them in handcuffs.