Federal Agents Seek Information on Islam Conference

February 17, 2004

Source: The National Lawyers Guild


On February 17, 2004 The National Lawyers Guild issued a press release condemning "an apparent effort on the part of the United States Army to gather information about students engaged in a civilian academic conference. On February 9, two Army officers came to the University of Texas Law School seeking information about a conference that had been held on February 4. The agents requested a roster of attendees and sought to interview the organizer of the event.

The conference was entitled, 'Islam and the Law: The Question of Sexism?' and was co-sponsored by the U.T. student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. The conference was also co-sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Student Bar Association, the Texas Journal of Women and the Law, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Freedom and Justice Foundation, the Muslim Law Students Association and the Human Rights Center at U.T. Law. The conference was apparently also attended by military personnel in plain clothes.

NLG student vice-president Maunica Sthanki, a law student at U.T. noted that, 'The conference itself was extremely secular, apolitical and was an attempt to educate people about Islam, as well as engage in an academic debate on issues of women’s rights in the Muslim world.'She said, 'It is particularly frightening that the Army sent investigators to an institution of higher learning. This raises disturbing issues of information sharing between the Army and civilian authorities such as the F.B.I.'"