DALLAS - The FBI reportedly interviewed numerous North Texas Muslims after warning about a terrorist plot ahead of the election.
The online chatter on terrorist websites mentioned attacks Monday in Texas, New York and Virginia.
The DFW Council on American-Islamic relations says at least 14 local Muslims have been contacted by FBI agents. CAIR claims the Muslims are being asked questioned related to that possible threat.
CAIR's local executive director says the phone calls and in-person visits from FBI agents, have put the Muslim community in North Texas on edge. It prompted her to create a PSA of sorts on social media. That video has since gone viral.
“The FBI agent informed them that they were doing a broad sweep across the country that they had a couple hundred names and wanted to talk to them about what they might possibly know,” Alia Salem, CAIR DFW Executive Director.
The Dallas FBI office would not comment on the claims.
Salem says her organization became aware of the questioning on Saturday, when a North Texas Muslim called CAIR, asking for advice -- after speaking to an FBI agent.
“The approach of coming to the community and kind of cold calling like this it unnerves people, they don't understand what's happening. They're just everyday citizens going about their lives,” Salem said.
Salem says the local Muslims being contacted are mostly of Pakistani and Afghan descent, some -- she says -- are doctors. At a news conference in New York City talking about election security on Monday, the chief of the counterterrorism unit mentioned the threat but nothing about the questioning.
“The threat by al-Qaeda. It lacks specificity and currently the credibility and sourcing of that information is under investigation and on-going with no information just last week,” said Chief Jim Waters, NYC Counterterrorism Unit.
Salem says she understands law enforcement has an obligation to act on that information, but feels Muslim Americans are being unfairly targeted in the process.
“We want them to do their job but we want the community to cooperate with their rights in place,” Salem said.
Salem says those rights include being questioned in the presence of an attorney. CAIR DFW is willing to provide a lawyer for any local Muslim Americans who have been contacted by an FBI agent, free of charge.