More US Muslim groups allege FBI harassment
April 18, 2009 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Less than a month after Californian Muslim groups accused the FBI of planting informants in mosques and Islamic centers, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan said it has asked the US Attorney General to look into complaints of FBI infiltration of Islamic centers. The group, which represents one America’s largest Muslim populations, accuses the Bureau of engaging in a “fishing expedition” by approaching Islamic center worshippers and asking them to report on activities, including donations, taking place in mosques. In its letter to US Attorney General Erik Holder, the group said the FBI appears to be specifically targeting Muslim immigrants “with pending immigration issues”, asking them to work as informers in return for assistance with their immigration petitions. Furthermore, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan said that complaints about what some call FBI harassment have grown in recent weeks. Last month, the California-based American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections accused the FBI of employing “McCarthy-era tactics”, including sending “agents provocateur” to Muslim communities and blackmailing Californian mosque members into becoming informants. The group cited the case of Ahmadullah Niazi, a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent and a member of the Islamic Center of Irvine, who was arrested in February by federal agents. According to the Task Force, Niazi was arrested after refusing to work as an informant for FBI agents, who threatened to make his life “a living hell” if he failed to cooperate. The Detroit office of the FBI has denied that it is engaged in fishing expeditions in Michigan and said it had “worked hard on its relationship with the Arab-American community in the region”.