U.S. Muslim Coalition Considers Suspending Relations With FBI

Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:17pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Move comes following incidents of FBI targeting mosques, Muslim groups

WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition* of major national
Islamic organizations today announced that it is considering suspending
outreach relations with the FBI, citing recent incidents in which American
mosques and Muslim groups have been targeted.

SEE: http://www.americanmuslimvoter.net/

In a statement, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections
(AMT), said:

Muslim communities throughout the United States have made significant advances
in promoting and contributing to a fair, free and pluralistic society.  

Through civil rights advocacy, civic and political engagement, and the
promotion of dialogue with interfaith leaders and law enforcement agencies,
Muslim Americans continue to be a positive and stabilizing force in keeping
our nation safe and secure from acts of violence and foreign threats.  

Despite fear-mongering by a vocal minority, Muslim Americans are natural
allies of law enforcement agencies in ensuring the wellbeing of our nation.
Muslims are law-abiding and productive citizens who uphold the democratic
principles of freedom, equality and justice.

Yet recent incidents targeting American Muslims lead us to consider suspending
ongoing outreach efforts with the FBI.

In California, the FBI sent a convicted criminal to pose as an agent
provocateur in several of that state's mosques. An FBI agent allegedly told
one of the mosque attendees that the agency would make his life a "living
hell" if he did not become an informant.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) wrote in a recent statement,
headlined "FBI Losing Partnership with American Muslim Community" - "Trust is
the cornerstone of any partnership between law enforcement and communities. It
can only be established and maintained through clear and open communication.
Without this, trust is eroded and suspicions arise on all sides. This clearly
does not serve anyone's interests... It is now up to the FBI and law
enforcement agencies to re-engage with the Muslim American community, and
re-build trust and respect."

See: FBI Losing Partnership with American Muslim Community
http://www.mpac.org/article.php?id=793

Early last fall, the FBI began a disengagement campaign in its relations with
the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest and
most respected Muslim civil rights organization. The FBI suspended contacts
with CAIR pending the resolution of unspecified "issues."  

In response, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella
organization of many Muslim groups, suspended outreach to the FBI in February.
The council's letter to the FBI stated in part:  

"Our commitment to ensuring the rights, interests, and prosperity of American
Muslims and all Americans is unconditional. We hope the FBI will have the
foresight to restore its relationship with such a vital link to the American
Muslim community."

See:
http://www.shuracouncil.org/images/special/onlineDocs/Shura-DOJ_Re_CAIR_Feb2009.pdf

We believe the FBI's unjustified actions are based on the May 2007 designation
of some 300 groups and individuals, including several major American Muslim
groups such as CAIR, the Islamic society of North America (ISNA) and the North
American Islamic Trust (NAIT), as "unindicted co-conspirators" (UCC) in
conjunction with the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, Texas.

Making this unjust designation public violates the Justice Department's own
guidelines and wrongly implies that those listed are somehow involved in
criminal activity. 

Bias and faulty premises dominated post-9/11 law enforcement analysis of the
Muslim community and the threat assessment to national security. The waning
days of the previous administration witnessed a flourishing of anti-Muslim
activity. 

There is even inter-agency information being disseminated that claims civil
rights advocacy is part of a Muslim conspiracy to implement Shari'a law in
order to destroy the United States. Recent government actions seemed to be
based on this bizarre premise. 

These McCarthy-era tactics are detrimental to a free society.

The credibility of all Muslim organizations who maintain ties to the FBI that
do not react decisively is undermined in the eyes of the community. Our fear
is that counter-intelligence programs are quelling lawful dissent. 

What is most frightening is that FBI abuses are no longer covert, and are
slowly being integrated into the already expansive laws regulating law
enforcement activity.  

Internationally, in light of President Obama's initiative of dialogue with the
Muslim world, such actions negatively impact U.S. interests. 

If the FBI does not accord fair and equitable treatment to every American
Muslim organization, including CAIR, ISNA and NAIT, then Muslim organizations,
mosques and individuals will have no choice but to consider suspending all
outreach activities with FBI offices, agents and other personnel. This
possible suspension, of course, would in no way affect our unshakable duty to
report crimes or threats of violence to our nation. 
 
We call on the FBI to reassess its positions on profiling and the use of
informants as agents provocateurs within the Muslim communities. We further
request objective evaluation of the sources of information and analysis
utilized to formulate decisions.  

Notwithstanding such requests, we call on Muslim organizations and individuals
to petition their elected representatives to hold hearings to address these
grave matters of concern to the Muslim community.  

We fully expect that the President's calls for inclusion will not be derailed
by irresponsible elements in and outside of government fomenting anti-Muslim
bias in this great nation.


* Signatories to this statement include:

American Muslim Alliance (AMA)
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Islamic Educational Center of Orange County (IEC)
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)
Muslim American Society-Freedom Foundation (MAS-FF) 
Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N)
Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA)
United Muslims of America (UMA) 

To add your organization, mosque or Islamic center as a signatory to this
statement, e-mail: bestusa80@hotmail.com

Media Contact: AMT Chair Dr. Agha Saeed, Tel: 510-299-9313, E-Mail:
aghaksaeed@yahoo.com



SOURCE  American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections

Dr. Agha Saeed of the American Muslim Taskforce, +1-510-299-9313,
aghaksaeed@yahoo.com
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