On the eve of a terrorist trial in Boise involving an Uzbek Muslim refugee, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said Friday that law enforcement and civil rights groups had met with refugee and Muslim groups to reassure them that authorities would be vigilant to protect them against bias crimes.
Olson said the meeting occurred Wednesday. The trial of Fazliddin Kurbanov of Boise, charged in 2013 with terrorism-related offenses, begins Monday. Citing the upcoming trial, Olson said meeting attendees discussed how communities had responded to recent incidents locally and nationally, including the racially-motivated shooting of churchgoers at a black church in Charleston, S.C., and defiance in some states of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.
“We are at a critical time in our nation and in our own community,” Olson said. “We need to stand up and form strategies against those who espouse extremist ideologies and recruit others to engage in violent acts in our communities on their behalf.”
Investigating and prosecuting terrorists, she said, needs to focus on specific illegal acts by individuals, not on their appearance, religion or nationality. Nor should investigation or prosection of one person “provide inspiration for others to act out against refugees or Muslims or to act out in support of extremism inspired by Al Qaeda or ISIL or other terrorist groups.”
Saturday’s Idaho Statesman has an in-depth look at the refugee experience and attitudes towards refugees in Idaho against the backdrop of concerns about terrorism.