Army Investigates Participants in Islam Conference

Article excerpt

The U.S. Army conceded in March that two of its counterintelligence special agents had exceeded their authority in investigating participants in a University of Texas Law School conference. The conference was titled "Islam and the Law: The Question of Sexism?"

The agents visited the Austin campus on February 9, after two army lawyers reported having encountered a "suspicious individual" and two associates at the event, which was convened by students at the law school. The army says its lawyers attended the conference to prepare for assignments in Southwest Asia, where they were to deal with legal issues between U.S. forces and the mostly Muslim population there.

The conference explored ways in which Islamic law may compromise women's rights. Topics discussed included women's wearing of the veil; inheritance, marriage, and divorce laws; polygamy; virginity; and honor crimes. Featured speakers included scholars from Harvard Divinity School, Georgetown Law Center, the University of Texas, the Islamic Association of Carrollton, Texas, and elsewhere.

The two army lawyers attending the conference reported being persistently questioned about their identity, occupation, and status by a man who appeared to be attending the conference with two associates. …