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Muslim Group Says FBI Still on Nevada Prayer Case | News

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Muslim Group Says FBI Still on Nevada Prayer Case

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A Muslim advocacy group representative accused the FBI on Monday of wrongly questioning five Muslim men in the Los Angeles area about praying in a shopping center parking lot in southern Nevada six months ago.

Council on American-Islamic Relations attorney Ameena Mirza Qazi in Los Angeles said she was concerned that federal investigators still think the men detained last December by Henderson police were "plotting something or were some sort of suspicious group."

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles said the men were interviewed by FBI agents "to clarify routine reports of suspicious activity" and were not arrested.

"None of the men have been accused of wrongdoing," Eimiller said.

Qazi, head of the CAIR Los Angeles chapter, dubbed the men the "Henderson 7." She said five of the men were questioned at their homes Thursday morning.

"These young men were not engaged in any kind of suspicious activity," Qazi said. "The concern is that they are continuing to be penalized for asserting their First Amendment rights. I think they were wrongly questioned."

Qazi called it "absurd" that the men continued to face government scrutiny, and said she was concerned that FBI agents showed one of the men a book with information on war tactics, titled "Afghanistan."

The CAIR attorney declined to identify the man, whom she described as a 29-year-old U.S. Army veteran of Middle Eastern descent. She said agents told him Henderson police found two such books during a December search of the men's vehicle.

Qazi said the man had no knowledge of the book, and denied he and his traveling companions had books like it in the vehicle. The CAIR official said a Henderson police lieutenant handling a CAIR complaint told her that he had no information about police obtaining the books during the December incident.

Qazi has said CAIR wants discipline and training for the police officers involved, and compensation for the men who were detained.

A Henderson police spokesman on Monday declined comment and referred calls to the FBI.

CAIR has said the seven men were traveling through the Las Vegas area when they stopped to buy gas and food and perform one of five required Muslim daily prayers in a parking lot Dec. 20.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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