Sunday, April 19, 2009

CAIR-FBI Breakup Leading to Some Hard Feelings

From the looks of it, the FBI’s breakup with CAIR is leading to some sour grapes.

Last month, 10 U.S. Muslim organizations in California, including CAIR and the Muslim Students Association, “threatened . . . to cease working with the FBI, citing ‘McCarthy-era tactics’ by the agency, including efforts to covertly infiltrate California mosques.”

The issue was the arrest and indictment of Afghan native, Ahmadullah Niazi, who was arrested during a raid in February, and supposedly offered a chance by an FBI agent to become an informant. Niazi refused, and now says his arrest was retaliation for his refusal to cooperate.

According to the CNN report, “FBI planting spies in U.S. mosques, Muslim groups say”:

Niazi, 34, was indicted last month on charges of perjury, procuring naturalization unlawfully, using a passport procured by fraud and making false statements. A search warrant for Niazi's Tustin, California, home said Niazi became a naturalized citizen in 2004 and made false statements about his past aliases and international travel.

He also made false statements about contact with his brother-in-law Amin ul-Haq, the indictment said. Ul-Haq is said to be Osama bin Laden's security coordinator and has been labeled a "specially designated global terrorist" by the U.S. government, the indictment said.

An FBI agent said in open court that Niazi also had discussed terrorist plots with an undercover informant, according to media reports. Niazi has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

CAIR's problems with the FBI began before Niazi's arrest. Last year, the FBI discontinued its "formal contact" with CAIR.

By the way, these are the ten signatories:

• American Muslim Alliance
• American Muslims for Palestine
• Council on American-Islamic Relations
• Islamic Educational Center of Orange County
• Islamic Circle of North America
• Muslim Alliance in North America
• MAS Freedom
• Muslim Student Association-National
• Muslim Ummah of North America
• United Muslims of America

Then more recently, some Michigan Muslim groups have been singing from the same hymnbook. According to an AP story from last week, (“Mich. Muslim group says FBI asking people to spy”):

A Michigan Muslim organization said . . . it has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate complaints that the FBI is asking followers of the faith to spy on Islamic leaders and worshippers.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan sent a letter last week to Holder after mosques and other groups reported members of the community have been approached to monitor people coming to mosques and donations they make.

. . . .Former FBI agents and federal prosecutors have said spying on mosques is one of the government's best weapons to thwart terrorists, but agents need to have credible and specific information before sending in a plant.

And a local spokesman for the FBI has denied that the agency is involved in any “fishing expeditions.” In this case, I'm inclined to believe the FBI.

For comments the AP turned to Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan CAIR. Walid thinks there's no basis for suspicion by the FBI. And he assures all of us that "Community members would be the first people to report to federal law enforcement if such things were being said."

Then CAIR in Minnesota has been giving the FBI flak for talking to Somali students in their investigation of the missing Somali men--suspected of being recruited and sent off to do jihad in the Middle East. (“Somalis, FBI in other U.S. cities on alert for terrorist recruiting”).

Two of the missing Somalis were students at the University of Minnesota, so, not surprising, agents have been talking to local high school and university students who may have some knowledge about the missing men. No one involved suggests that these interviews are anything but voluntary.

But, in response, “[t]he Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on colleges to provide more legal help for students and also says students have been approached by the FBI while walking to class and in the library. Students have also received calls from investigators.” (“FBI continues questioning U students”).

As is apparent from this, none of these stories describe anything unlawful by the FBI. What the stories reflect are attempts by CAIR and their compatriots to scare the FBI into backing off on investigations from fear of negative publicity.

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