CHICAGO – A coalition of Chicago-area and national Asian Pacific American bar associations expressed their support for Sufyan Sohel, deputy director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago (CAIR-Chicago), and CAIR-Chicago, victims of a series of threating calls recently charged as a hate crime.
On May 16, 2017, Sohel received a threatening voicemail on his office phone from Marvin Meyer stating, “Hey. Guess what? This is America calling. You are not welcome here... We will kill you.” His message insulted Allah and Democrats, and Meyer also asked, “Do I seem afraid of you?” This was one of four calls left at CAIR-Chicago that morning, all with a similar message.
Meyer admitted to calling Sohel and he has been charged with a felony count of a hate crime and a misdemeanor count of a telephone threat.
The Chicago-area bar associations (the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago, the Chinese American Bar Association of Chicago, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago, the Korean American Bar Association of Chicago, the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago) and the national bar associations (the National Asian Pacific America Bar Association and the South Asian Bar Association North America) condemn the threatening calls and the rising level of hate witnessed around the globe against Muslim, South Asian and other minority communities. The bar associations praise the Cook County State’s Attorney Office and the Chicago Police Department for investigating the specific allegations raised by the voicemails and taking action to ensure that all residents, regardless of gender, race and national origin, feel welcome and safe in the City of Chicago.
Sohel, past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, is an American-born attorney whose parents came to this country from India. As deputy director at CAIR-Chicago, Sohel oversees the organization’s legal strategy and is a frequent speaker on social justice and civil rights issues. CAIR-Chicago is a non-profit organization that defends the civil rights or Muslim Americans through outreach, advocacy and litigation.
The bar associations urge attorneys, other legal associations and community members to help stem the rise of hate crimes by reporting incidents and seeking assistance immediately. Please visit the respective bar associations’ websites for additional information.