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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Is Big Brother at your mosque?

InFocus Newspaper, August 2007
By ABDUSSALAM MOHAMED, Senior Staff Writer

...In the back seat sat Ahmed Niazi, 33, a language teacher and a friend, while in the passenger seat sat a man who converted to Islam almost a year ago.

The man was 44-year-old Craig Monteilh, but he went by the name "Farouk Aziz."

"Monteilh started talking about the Iraq war," Niazi said. "He went off on a rant against U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East."

But then, out of the blue, Monteilh said something that sent chills down the spines of his companions.

He asked Elsisy and Niazi if they knew of an "operation" he could be part of.

Pin-drop silence followed. Elsisy’s eyes bounced over to the rearview mirror and traded a horrified glance with Niazi.

"Blood froze up in our veins," Elsisy recalls...

Board members at the center felt compelled to take action.

They contacted the southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, known as CAIR.

Hussam Ayloush, the council’s executive director, recommended they immediately report the incident to the Irvine Police Department (Irvine PD) and to the FBI.

"There was no question about what they were supposed to do next," Ayloush said.

Detective Frough Jahid from the Irvine PD and Special Agent Ellis Kuppferman from the FBI ended up interviewing Edah-Tally, Elsisy, Niazi and Zied, among others.

Elsisy, Niazi and Zied were shocked to find out through Jahid that Monteilh had a criminal record...

As the fuzzy picture of Monteilh started to come into focus, rumors spread within a community in jitters about agent provocateurs and informants who were infiltrating mosques in order to trick Muslims into false "terror confessions."...

In light of their extensive criminal records, Ayloush added, these individuals would neither qualify as police officers nor as FBI agents, yet they are on the payroll of law enforcement agencies and are allowed to do law enforcement work.

"We all respect hardworking law enforcement agents," Ayloush said. "But mercenary informants? Hardly."...

The incident was reported to law enforcement officials in the first week of June, but the FBI waited three weeks to contact Monteilh.

"Why did they wait so long to contact him? Why wasn’t he arrested?" some community members asked. "What if this individual acted on his words?"...

Other critics maintain that individuals like Eldawoody and Monteilh are not acting as informants, but rather as agent provocateurs.

They pressure and brainwash people who otherwise would not engage in violence and extremism, and always choose their victims among the most vulnerable, such as disenchanted youth, the unemployed and the angry who exist in every community.

"They are creating terrorists in a way that no actual terrorist recruiter would have been able to," Ayloush said...

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