Video with CAIR-MI’s Attorney Melanie Elturk discussing the recent “terror plot” arrest in New York and the upcoming Community Rights Town Hall.
In the wake of local and national reports of FBI spying in mosques, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice has issued a request to Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate if the FBI is engaging in religious profiling.
Follow the link to read the full letter to Attorney General Holder.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Hon. Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
RE: FBI spying in Mosques
Dear Attorney General Holder:
Recently we at the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice have heard reports alleging that the FBI has been sending informants into mosques to collect information about who is attending and who is giving to charity.
We find these reports deeply disturbing and we request that you mount a full investigation into these allegations. As you know, there have been troubling reports that the FBI sent a convicted criminal to pose as an agent provocateur in several California mosques, including allegations that an FBI agent told one of the mosque attendees that the agency would make his life a “living hell” if he did not become an informant.
Here in Michigan, Dawud Walid of the Council of American Islamic Relations has reported hearing about efforts to infiltrate a variety of area mosques on what he dubs “fishing expeditions.”
If true, these reports would seem to indicate a practice of religious profiling on the part of the FBI. We at the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice oppose religious, ethnic and racial profiling. We have seen how it threatens civil rights, weakens communities, and sows mistrust.
We do support FBI efforts to bring criminals to justice and to prevent crime, but they should not single out communities based on how they pray, the color of their skin, or their national origin.
We urge you to order a full investigation into these allegations and to conduct a thorough review of FBI and Department of Justice policies regarding racial, ethnic, and religious profiling to ensure that they protect groups from inappropriate surveillance.
CAIR Questions FBI Tactics in NY Synagogue ‘Plot’
New details of informant’s actions prompt Muslim group’s concerns
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/26/2009) A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today questioned the FBI’s tactics leading up to the arrest of fourmen for allegedly plotting to attack Jewish institutions in that state.
Based on early reports of a foiled plot to bomb a synagogue and a Jewish community center and to shoot down military planes, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) initially applauded the FBI and the other law enforcement agencies that took part in the investigation.
In a statement issued today, CAIR cited newly-revealed details of the case that indicate the alleged “plot” may have been based more on the financial inducements of a government informant than on the predisposition to terrorism of three petty criminals and a mentally ill Haitian immigrant. The Associated Press described the alleged plotters as “down-and-out ex-convicts living on the margins in a faded industrial city.”
SEE: Islam Not to Blame for Bronx Terror Plot (Huffington Post)
“This entire scheme seems to be the product of sending yet another FBI agent provocateur into an American mosque to instigate a ‘plot’ that would likely never have been hatched but for the rhetorical and financial inducements of the government informant. As a defense attorney said of the informant in this case, who was also the informant in a previous case, ‘Where he goes conspiracies blossom.’ According to the family of one of the suspects, the FBI informant even promised to pay for a liver transplant for his dying brother.
“We need to know who first suggested the specific targets in this plot and, if it was the FBI informant, why a government agency would create a scenario that may drive a wedge between two American religious minorities.
“These arrests seem to be based on a government formula for announcing law enforcement ‘victories’ that we have seen all too often in the past – take a paid informant, insert him into a mosque or community without probable cause of criminal behavior, locate marginal characters open to financial or rhetorical inducements, facilitate criminal actions suggested by the provocateur, and then announce ‘terror’ arrests with great fanfare.
“This formula, which could be used in any faith community, produces flashy arrests but rests on shaky constitutional ground and does little to advance legitimate law enforcement goals. It also serves to alienate an entire religious minority and provides fodder for those who seek to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”
CAIR’s statement reiterated the American Muslim community’s longstanding repudiation of terrorism in all its forms and encouraged anyone who is aware of criminal activity to immediately contact law enforcement authorities.
The statement also restated CAIR’s concerns about Justice Department guidelines, implemented under the Bush administration, which allow race and ethnicity to be factors in opening an FBI probe.
In an interview with the New York Post, the girlfriend of the alleged ringleader said the informant was constantly around, “It was like he was stalking him.” The girlfriend of one of the other alleged plotters said: “They aren’t radicals they were just financially motivated. They aren’t terrorists. If [the informant] wasn’t in the picture they would’ve never come up with this idea. This was not their idea. They make it sound like they sought him out and said we want to do this when he’s the one who approached them. He enticed them with money.”
The New York Times wrote: “Everyone called the stranger with all the money ‘Maqsood.’ He would sit in his Mercedes, waiting in the parking lot of the mosque in , N.Y., until the Friday prayer was over. Then, according to members of the mosque, the Masjid al-Ikhlas, he approached the young men.”
A lawyer who represented the last terror suspect tried in New York state called the FBI’s operation “a foolish waste of time and money.” He said, “It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four idiots to install as defendants.”
CAIR noted that the FBI informant in a similar case inrecently stated that he views Islam as a threat to national security.
In March, a coalition of major national Islamic organizations announced that it is considering suspending outreach relations with the FBI, citing similar incidents in which American mosques and Muslim groups have been targeted. The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) also called on the FBI to reassess the use of informants as agents provocateurs within the Muslim community.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
– END –
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif, 212-870-2002, 732-429-4268, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:
Regarding the recent arrest of 4 men in New York in a so-called “terror plot”, more information has come to the surface. A “long time girlfriend” of one of the “sane” suspects said that the FBI agent-provocateur was basically stalking him and that whenever they needed “anything”, the agent-provocateur would give it to them.
SEE: ‘Jihad’ Girlfriends: FBI Snitch Used Gifts To Trick Our Men (NY Post) http://www.nypost.com/seven/05232009/news/regionalnews/jihad_girlfriend__they_were_tricked_by_g_170683.htm
A brother of the other “sane” suspect, who is diagnosed with fatal liver condition said that his brother fell into the trap because he was trying to get enough money for him to get a liver transplant. The agent-provocateur offered $25,000.
SEE: Families Of Temple Terror Plot Suspects Speak Out (CBS) http://wcbstv.com/topstories/temple.terror.plot.2.1018245.html
The third suspect was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. His lawyer stated in court that his client is known to be “intellectually challenged”, which the FBI knew prior to his arrest. Mosque members described him as coming to the mosque once with his hair and clothing “disheveled”, looking like a homeless person. The fourth suspect is a cocaine addict, who probably was lured by the promise of quick money.
CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab has a very thorough op-ed on the Huffington Post titled, “Islam Not the Blame For Bronx Terror Plot” regarding the deceptive nature of this case.
More conclusions to be drawn are:
1) The FBI has stated publically that they do not target mosques unless the Imam is preaching extremism and/or they have reason to believe that there are people in the mosque who are plotting extremism or connected to a terror group. This situation clearly shows that the FBI is being disingenuous when making such statements. The Imam & Assistant Imam were not only preaching peace and cooperation, but warned congregants about the man, who was speaking extremism that turned out to be an agent-provocateur.
2) Three of these men were petty criminals, who were enticed by money, not extreme ideology, one desperate man trying to save his sister’s life and another being cocaine addict. The fourth guy is mentally insane. One of them, however, did make a number of vitriolic anti-Jewish statements that are deplorable. These characters have been described as “dummies” and “dimwits”, who probably do not have enough sense to operate an ice cream truck business, much less be hard-core terrorists. The agent-provocateur was the real mastermind.
On Sunday night, I was on 98.7 KISS FM in New York City for approximately 20 minutes on a talk show discussing this issue. The host and an attorney, who was also on the call (both Christians) were actually more critical of the FBI than I. I’ll forward you the audio link when it comes online.
I’m scheduled to speak on Sunday (May 23) on 98.7 KISS FM around 12:30 PM regarding the recent arrest for 4 New York men charged in plot to attack two Jewish-American centers and US military targets.
Robert Dreyfuss’ piece on The Nation titled “Yet Another Bogus ‘Terror’ Plot” fires a salvo at the FBI’s usage of agent-provocatuers in mosques to incite people towards extermism, even in mosque where the imams are NOT preaching extermism or where people are NOT connected to extermist groups or even actively planning political violence.
Click here to read.
The recent case regarding the 4 men arrested in New York contradicts recent statements by FBI officials that they do not go on fishing expeditions in mosques.
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out in court, especially in regards to one of the defendents (Mr. Payen) who is a diaganosed schizophrenic with bi-polar disorder. Inciting the insane are we?
The New York Times story “Informant’s Role in Bombing Plot” also sheds light into the FBI’s fishing expedition in the Newburg mosque (Masjid Al-Ikhlas), how congregants didn’t bite and believed that Mr. Shahed Hussain, the agent-provocateur, was working for the FBI.
Click here to read.
The National Association of Muslim American Women (NAMAW) took an extremely firm stand against the FBI tactics in their May 22, 2009 press release:
We believe that this supposed conspiracy was dreamed up by the FBI informant who coerced these men who reportedly have very limited intellectual abilities, one who is reportedly a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, to participate with him in a fake plot to blow up synagogues and an airplane in New York. The FBI said in its own statement that they allowed the informant to carry out a psychological campaign for a entire year, that was intended to make these men depressed and aggravated about the plight of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq…
We feel that the case, and the questions raised by this case have created a need for further investigation and we hope that the Department of Justice will agree with us.
There is no doubt that one of the suspects, Mr. Cromitie, holds vitriolic anti-Jewish views, which must be condemned. We should also be thankful that these convicted felons and mentally challenged people were incited by the FBI instead of a real terrorist.
More on this issue coming, G’d willing.
The Islamic Organization of North America (IONA) this Saturday will hold its 5th annual conference on “Justice & Peace For All Mankind: From A Qur’anic Perspective.”
Speakers will include Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Dr. Ahmed Azfaal, Ameer Mustapha Elturk and CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.
Admission is FREE.
WHAT: “Justice For All Mankind: From A Qur’anic Perspective” Conference
WHERE: IONA Masjid, 28630 Ryan Rd, Warren, MI 48092
WHEN: Saturday May 22 from 4 PM to 10:30 PM
For more information, call 586-558-6900.