Statement in Solidarity with Muzzamil Zaidi and Asim Naqvi

Friday, August 21, 2020

ASA Dear Community,

We understand there is anxiety around the recent detention of our Brothers Muzzamil Zaidi and Asim Naqvi in Houston by law enforcement on potentially serious charges.

First and foremost, we want to assure you that we are working with both families to provide them with robust legal representation.

It is important to note that at this time, all we know are the government’s allegations. These brothers are innocent until proven guilty, and it is essential that we continue to publicly support our community members in their time of need.

Our priorities:

(1) First and foremost, we are working to ensure that Brother Muzzamil is out on bail. InshAllah, this should be determined next week after the pre-trial services report is issued.

(2) We understand the DOJ press release sends a chilling message to the entire Shia community, particularly those who give Khums or study in Qom, Iran. We are working with the top legal experts in criminal defense and sanction law to better understand how we can exercise our religious freedoms while continuing to abide by our government’s regulations.

(3) To that end, we plan to host self-education workshops for our community members soon, on both American sanction and anti-money laundering laws, as well as religious laws on Khums.

(4) We will look into applying for a license through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for those who wish to spend their Khums overseas and in Iran, though such licenses and exceptions are rarely granted.

(5) We are exploring civil rights litigation which would challenge the constitutionality of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) as curtailing religious freedoms.

(6) If you are contacted by law enforcement to discuss the case, do not speak to them without an attorney. If the FBI arrives at your door, ask to see the warrant and seek counsel immediately.

Please continue to recite duas for both families. Jazakallah

American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA) Leadership

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