(ANAHEIM, CA, 2/26/09) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today expressed deep concerns about some tactics used by the FBI in its dealings with the Southern California Muslim community.
In a statement, CAIR-LA said:
"A news story published today about a paid FBI informant, coupled with an FBI agent's court testimony this week of the use of an informant to infiltrate mosques in Southern California, have re-ignited feelings of anger, disillusionment and mistrust among American Muslims toward the FBI.
The American Muslim community has never waivered from its commitment to keeping America safe, nor has it hesitated from cooperating with various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, in ensuring the security of all U.S. citizens.
However, reports of paying informants to monitor and provoke law-abiding Muslims in houses of worship, as well as the recruitment by the FBI of Muslims to become informants and threats of retaliation for refusing to comply, along with past history of FBI surveillance of Muslim students on Southland college campuses have prompted our community to raise these deeply troubling concerns:
1. These coercive and intimidating methods highlight the fact that the FBI continues to view the entire American Muslim community as suspect and treat it as such. Infiltrating mainstream mosques the way FBI informants infiltrate white supremacist groups illustrates the FBI's perception of American Muslims as a community that must be constantly monitored, instead of being treated as an equal partner in fighting crime and terrorism.
2. Informants are used to manufacture terrorism-like plots, which are then announced as successfully disrupted by the FBI. Such actions waste precious taxpayer dollars and take the agency away from the mission of protecting our nation by tracking and foiling actual terrorism and crime.
3. Law-abiding Muslims at mainstream mosques and Islamic centers are being incited and entrapped by former criminals with questionable characters.
Unfortunately, the FBI's counter-productive actions damage the trust between Muslims and law enforcement and trample our Constitutionally-mandated civil liberties.
We encourage community members, who have been visited, harassed, or threatened by an FBI agent, to promptly report that incident to CAIR offices. As always, please continue to report any suspicious or criminal activity to the FBI or law enforcement - it's an obligation mandated by our faith Islam and our love for our country."
- Hussam Ayloush
- 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