A Muslim civil rights group is accusing the FBI and other federal agencies of “bad policing” and flaunting the Constitution in a 56-page report released to mark the 10th anniversary of the Patriot Act.
The Tuesday (Oct. 25) report by Muslim Advocates, “Losing Liberty: The State of Freedom 10 Years After The Patriot Act” recommends more than 40 legal and policy changes to enforcement of the anti-terrorism law.
The report accuses the FBI of religious profiling, using informants to spy on mosques, and asking Muslims prohibited questions about their religious beliefs and practices.
“FBI agents are instructed to view Muslims with suspicion by, for example, looking out for converts to Islam and those who wear ‘traditional Muslim attire,? attend mosques, and have strong religious beliefs,” the report said.
By EBOO PATEL
The recent spate of high-profile news on Muslim-Americans can be summed up easily: horror and terror. The high-profile actions of the few are overshadowing a trend that is capturing the many: the emergence of an American Muslim civic identity, which is to say, how Islam inspires its followers to be better citizens in America.
CAIR termed a proposed Justice Department policy change that would allow the FBI to investigate Americans without evidence of wrongdoing, unconstitutional and un-American, adding that the policy would permit religious and ethnic profiling. The new guidelines, which are expected to be implemented later this summer, the FBI would be permitted to use race and ethnicity when considering investigations. “Any new Justice Department guidelines must preserve the presumption of innocence that is the basis of our entire legal system,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. “Initiating criminal investigations based on racial or religious profiling is both unconstitutional and un-American.” Saylor added that on previous occasions, even President Bush has denounced such profiling.
Hussein Ibish, founder of for Arab-American leadership in Washington DC told an audience at Tulane University that America’s cultural view of Islam and American Muslims is steadily deteriorating under an onslaught of bigotry in news programming, op-ed pieces, and in the blogosphere. Since 9/11, he said that commentators such as Malkin, Ann Coulter, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz have transferred old anti-Arab stereotypes to Islam in “incredibly bigoted commentary” that would not have been tolerated before September 11th, 2001. “This is what explains the collapse of the good name of Islam,” said Ibish, who also believes that with this context, the West sees Islam as constantly suspicious, which thenceforth only further legitimizes the calls for ethnic and religious profiling.