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From inside the maelstrom

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Thirteen years ago, Beaverton attorney Brandon Mayfield fell afoul of the Patriot Act. Today, he reflects on America, the Trump administration, and relationships with the Muslim world.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JAIME VALDEZ - Brandon Mayfield knows what it's like to get swept up in the 'global war on terrorism.' The Beaverton attorney, Muslim and former Army officer spent two weeks in jail in 2004 before being released and receiving an apology from the FBI.When it comes to issues of nationalism, terrorism and rhetoric aimed at Islamic countries, President Donald Trump has galvanized the country. Some voters adore him, and others fear him.

On the campaign trail, as president-elect and as president, he spoke of bombing Middle Eastern countries and "taking" their oil. He called for closing the nation's borders to Muslims. His two presidential orders banning travelers from several Muslim-majority countries were seen by some as finally acknowledging the animosity of militant Islamist forces. But for others, the orders — blocked both times by courts — flew in the face of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, because it focused on people of one faith.

Throughout the national debate, one Beaverton resident has watched the evolution of Americans' attitudes and approaches to what is now a more than 15-year-long "war on terrorism" from the perspective of one who has been swept up in it, if briefly. Thirteen years ago this month, the FBI believed Brandon Mayfield to be connected to a deadly string of bombings in Spain. A partial fingerprint found on a detonator outside Madrid looked like it might have been his (see accompanying story). He was held for two weeks in the Multnomah County Detention Center before being released, followed by a rare apology from the FBI for their mistake.

Mayfield is an attorney, a former Army lieutenant, and a Muslim. He's also the co-author, along with his daughter, attorney Sharia Mayfield, of the book, "Improbable Cause: The War on Terror's Assault on the Bill of Rights," which tells the tale.

The Times met with Mayfield last week at his law office in Beaverton to ask him about the last year since Donald Trump improbably outdistanced more than a dozen Republicans; the feud with a Gold Star family; the travel bans; the protests and marches; and the situation today.



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