WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI to explain why a detained American citizen who is a long-time anchor on Iranian television is being denied religious rights while held on unspecified grounds.
Marzieh Hashemi, a prominent African-American anchorwoman on Iranian state television's English-language service, was arrested by the FBI during a visit to the U.S. Her son said she was being held in prison, apparently as a material witness. She is reportedly to appear in a Washington, D.C., court today.
Reports indicate that Hashemi was detained in St. Louis and then taken to Washington, D.C. Her current location is unknown. Family members say she is being denied the right to wear her Islamic head scarf (hijab) and is also being denied pork-free meals.
The FBI told the Associated Press it has no comment on the arrest.
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"Law enforcement officials must clarify why they are holding Ms. Hashemi without formal charges and why they have allegedly denied her religious rights while in custody," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "There can be no justification for denying an American citizen, or any other person, their basic civil and religious rights."
Awad said CAIR has reached out to the family and to the government to ensure Hashemi's legal and religious rights.
He noted that CAIR has in the past successfully defended the religious rights of detained Muslims.
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The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has reported an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)