Senators seek rights protections in FBI probes

Three Democratic senators are seeking “bare-minimum” civil rights protection for those Americans who might be targeted in FBI security investigations, even without evidence of wrongdoing. Senators Dick Durban, Russ Feingold, and Edward Kennedy made demands on the measures in a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, saying that the new policies could allow surveillance of innocent Muslim or Arab-Americans based in part on just their religion or nationality. “The Justice Department’s actions over the last eight years have alienated many Americans, especially Arab and Muslim Americans. We are concerned that issuing new attorney general guidelines without a more transparent process will actually make the FBI’s job more, not less, difficult by exacerbating mistrust in communities whose cooperation the FBI needs,” the letter is quoted as saying.

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Florida Attorney General agrees to Muslim advisory group

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum met behind closed doors with leaders from the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, angry over his having shown a film to employees during office hours, called by the council’s leaders as anti-Muslim propaganda. Both sides emerged from the meeting citing it as positive. McCollum has also agreed to form a new Muslim-American advisory group in the attorney general’s office. The council’s executive directory Salam Al-Marayati said: He didn’t apologize, but I think he understands our perspective and that’s something he didn’t have before. Last month, McCollum sent an e-mail to 500 employees urging that they attend a screening of the film _Obsession.’ The film’s subtitle is _Radical Islam’s War Against the West.

Wrong to suspect converts to Islam: top prosecutor

Karlsruhe, Germany (dpa) – It would be wrong to cast a general cloud of suspicion over converts to Islam, German Attorney General Monika Harms said Thursday, following the smashing last week of an alleged Islamist terrorist cell. The revelation that two of those arrested on September 4 for planning potentially devastating bomb attacks against US targets in Germany were Germans who had adopted Islam provoked debate on the radicalization of converts. Speaking to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an interview, Harms said many converts to Islam were peaceful, although watchfulness was needed. But she added: “We can’t cast suspicion on entire population groups. That’s not acceptable, and nobody wants that.

UK May Charge Clerics With Treason

LONDON, England (AP) — British prosecutors say they are considering treason charges against any Islamic extremists who express support for terrorism. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith’s office said the Crown Prosecution Service’s head of anti-terrorism would meet with senior Metropolitan Police officers to discuss possible charges against three prominent clerics as part of a crackdown on those the government believes are inciting terrorism. Clerics Omar Bakri Mohammed, Abu Izzaden and Abu Uzair, have appeared on British television in recent days. Goldsmith’s office said prosecutors and police would look at remarks made by the three and consider whether they could face charges of treason, incitement to treason, solicitation of murder, or incitement to withhold information known to be of use to police. Bakri Mohammed has reportedly said since the July 7 attacks that he would not inform police if he knew Muslims were planning another attack and he supports insurgents who attack troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “No decision on charges has been made yet,” the attorney general’s office spokeswoman said, speaking anonymously because British civil servants cannot be named. The spokeswoman said prosecutors may also seek access to taped recordings made by an undercover Sunday Times reporter who reportedly recorded members of a radical group praising the suicide bombers as “The Fantastic Four.” The newspaper’s story said its reporter spent two months as a “recruit” of the group, the Savior Sect, and described the organization as inciting young British Muslims to become terrorists.