Tarek Z. Ismail is the Senior Staff Attorney in the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project, which primarily aims to address the legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices deployed by various law enforcement agencies. Through his work at CLEAR, Tarek works with individuals who are approached for questioning by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, experience difficulties traveling, are placed on federal watchlists, experience severe immigration delays on grounds of national security, and otherwise face discriminatory scrutiny by law enforcement.
Prior to joining CLEAR, Tarek was a staff attorney in the Family Defense Practice at the Brooklyn Defender Services, where he represented parents whose families were ensnared by the foster care system.
From 2011-2013, Tarek was the Counterterrorism & Human Rights Fellow at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute. In that role, Tarek researched and wrote on issues ranging from administrative detention and targeted killings to US domestic counterterrorism policy. Tarek is the lead author on a report co-published with Human Rights Watch, which examined and exposed human rights abuses in domestic counterterrorism prosecutions, Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions, and has written and spoken widely on related issues.
Tarek holds degrees from Columbia Law School and the University of Virginia.