ACLU: FBI kept details of Muslims’ religious practices in violation of privacy rules

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday released records it obtained from the FBI that it said showed the bureau’s San Francisco division used its Muslim outreach efforts to collect intelligence on religious activities protected by the Constitution.

Under the U.S. Privacy Act, the FBI is generally prohibited from maintaining records on how people practice their religion unless there is a clear law enforcement purpose. ACLU lawyers said the documents, which the organization obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed violations of that law.

After reviewing the ACLU documents, the FBI said the reports that contained notes about religious activity were appropriate because the agents were meeting with members of the Muslim community for law enforcement purposes.

FBI agents are required to document their contacts and their activities. In the documents released by the ACLU, religious information was included as an aside and was not the focus of the reports. But because the information was entered into FBI files at all, it was available to be searched by investigators nationwide.

‘Hatemonger’ Barred by Canadian Government to Speak Via Video Link

An Indian Muslim televangelist recently banned from Canada for his inflammatory statements
about Jews, gays, and the West, will still headline a massive Islamic conference in Toronto
addressing upwards of 10,000 attendees via video satellite.
The Journey of Faith Conference — billed as North America’s largest Islamic conference —
will “go on as planned” despite Dr. Zakir Naik’s exclusion from Canada, according to the event
Dr. Naik, president of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, had been denied a visa
to enter Canada because of past comments such as “every Muslim should be a terrorist,” Jews
are “our staunchest enemy,” and “If [Osama bin Laden] is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for
Dr. Naik — who has spoken several times at the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention
in Toronto — has garnered headlines in Canada in the past. In 2006, the National Post
reported that one of the Toronto 18 terrorist suspects had urged Muslim youth to seek out the
televangelist’s teachings.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada declined to comment yesterday, citing the Privacy Act.