Congressman questions charges against House IT hackers, citing Islamophobia

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A Democratic congressman is “hesitant to believe” criminal charges against House IT staffers, claiming that the allegations might have stemmed from Islamophobia.

Capitol Police has banned Rep. Gregory Meeks’ (D-N.Y.) IT staff member Hina Alvi and her husband, Imran Awan, from Congress, suspecting them of criminal violations of network security involving congressional data.

Awan’s brothers Abid and Jamal, also House IT staffers, have been banned, as well.

But Rep. Meeks is standing behind the Muslim IT workers. “I have seen no evidence that they were doing anything that was nefarious,” he told Politico on Mar. 1.

Seven days later, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group (DCNF) published a Fairfax County, Va., police report regarding a call in January received from Imran’s stepmother, a devout Muslim, in which she claimed that the brothers were controlling her.

Along with another relative, the stepmother alleged that the brothers were holding her “captive,” eavesdropping on her phone calls and threatening to have loved ones abducted in Pakistan unless she helped the brothers access large sums of money banked overseas in their father’s name.

The DCNF then provided the police report and news story to Meeks’ spokesman, Jordan Morris, and asked if the information changed the congressman’s perspective on “nefarious” behavior. Meeks’ office and the congressman himself refused to respond.

“I would like to please mention that if some Congress members are saying they are being picked on because they are Muslim, it’s a joke,” the stepmother, Samina Ashraf Gilani, told reporters.

“I’m an immigrant, too. They’re not being picked on because they’re Muslim, they’re being investigated because they did something wrong,” said another relative who wished to remain anonymous.

Politico reported that “Meeks said he was hesitant to believe the accusations against Alvi, Imran Awan, and the three other staffers, saying their background as Muslim Americans, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges. ‘I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion.’”

But, a Pakistani relative disagrees, “That’s a completely insane statement. It has nothing to do with their being Muslim, they are bad people. What they have done to their mother, their father … I don’t want to use this word, but I’m ashamed. Who could defend that?”

Gilani said Saturday, “My stepchildren captivated me in-house for a long time … They did not let me see and meet with my husband and captivated me in-house and, even after a police call done by me, they did not let me meet him until my husband died. I am helpless and homeless because [my] stepsons threatened me so much so I was compelled to leave.”

Gilani contended that after her husband died on Jan. 16, she discovered that, a month prior, Abid had replaced her name with his as her husband’s life insurance beneficiary. She has fled from the brothers and filed a second report with Fairfax County Police, alleging insurance fraud along with detailed complaints regarding the brothers’ attempts to control her.

The relative said Gilani and other concerned family members are devout Muslims with urgent fears about the brothers’ capacities for violence and propensity to do anything for money. “If they were real Muslims, they wouldn’t have treated their mother like this … If they would do this to their own mother for money, do you think they would not misuse their jobs in Congress?”

The suspects had access to all emails sent and received by dozens of Democrat members of Congress.

H/T: The Daily Caller

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