American, Muslim, and under constant watch

Rose Hackman in The Guardian:

AhsanAhsan Samad sits on the sofa in the living room of his small family home in Brooklyn, New York. The 30-year-old plumber leans forward and carefully pours the coffee his mother has just brought in from the kitchen. His young niece and nephew are playing in a nearby room. “I know I have done nothing wrong. I am constantly thinking about it. Their visits made me terrified.” Samad looks up, bewildered and confused. He is trying to lay out the complexity of the mental hell the past four and a half years have been for him. Samad is an American citizen with no criminal record – no arrests, no felonies. But in the shifting eyes of the American law, he is something worthy of seeming extra attention. Samad is not just American – he is also Muslim.

Over the course of more than four years between September 2011 and 2015, he received at least five visits to his home by NYPD and then FBI officers. He says the visiting officers came with no warrant and used threatening and provocative language. During a visit in September 2011, they even forced themselves inside his home. Law enforcement agents presenting themselves to his residence were repeatedly and systematically told by him and his petrified family members to arrange for interviews in the presence of lawyers (who later followed up with agencies) – something law enforcement officials repeatedly declined to do. Followups by Samad’s lawyers – members of a free legal clinic named Clear, which is operated by the law school at City University of New York – have not revealed the existence of any kind of formal investigation tied to Samad and his family.

More here.