A CAIR supported “anti-Islamophobia” activist and Oklahoma native, Saadiq Long, has been arrested in Turkey for being an alleged member of an ISIS cell, PJ Media reports.
In 2013, Long, backed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and supportive news outlets, launched a public campaign to portray the U.S. government’s no-fly lists as an example of “Islamophobia.” The lists were adopted as counter-terrorism measures after the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Long, who at the time was living in Qatar, claimed that he wanted to return to his native Oklahoma to visit his sick mother, only to be prohibited from doing so because he was on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) no-fly list. Long claimed that the only reason he was on the list, designed to safeguard against terrorists entering the United States, was because he was Muslim. His assertions were taken up as proof of “institutional Islamophobia” by CAIR.
CAIR championed Long’s claims, emphasizing his status as a U.S. Air Force veteran. Overlooking the transnational nature of Islamic terrorism, CAIR implied that Long couldn’t be a terror threat due to his having been born in Oklahoma. PJ Media reports that CAIR has “22 article entries related to Longs’ case on its website.” CAIR’s executive director, Adam Soltani said, “We are disappointed that the U.S. government didn’t allow him to fly and didn’t provide him with a reason.”
After CAIR began agitating on Long’s behalf, attention from some news outlets followed.
CAIR’s advocacy on behalf of Long resulted in his being temporarily removed from the no-fly list and allowed to return to Oklahoma. Long and his CAIR representatives claimed he was still under FBI surveillance during his trip home.
Long subsequently was restored to the no-fly list, preventing his return to Qatar and leading to his appearance—with his CAIR representative—on the MSNBC cable television show “Up with Chris Hayes” (now called “All In with Chris Hayes”). Hayes sympathetically asked Long to recount his story, including about how he “made his way to Islam” while in the Air Force and stationed in Turkey. Hayes, in an indignant tone of voice, noted that Long was being interviewed via satellite since he was “unable to fly” to join Hayes and his CAIR representative in the studio.
Responding to a question from Hayes, Long claimed that he “had no idea” why he was on the no-fly list.
PJ Media notes that “no U.S. media outlet has reported his arrest.” A Lexis-Nexis search seems to show only select outlets like the Washington Free Beacon covering Long’s detention. Glenn Greenwald failed to do so. Similarly, Chris Hayes—although he did take to social media platform Twitter to critique intelligence efforts against terrorism—failed to inform his audience that his one-time guest is now being held as an alleged member of a terrorist group.
The FBI has stated that Liban Haji Mohamed, a one-time D.C. area cab driver, is a key target because “he has knowledge of the Washington, D.C., area’s infrastructure such as shopping areas, Metro, airports, and government buildings.…This makes him an asset to his terrorist associates who might plot attacks on U.S. soil.”