Somali Muslims are calling FBI outreach ‘coercion’

Concerns about racial profiling and other questionable tactics used to investigate the possible terrorist recruitment of Somalis living in the United States are prompting some Muslim leaders in Saint Louis and elsewhere to limit their cooperation with the FBI.

Federal agents are intensifying their efforts to make connections and conduct investigations within the Somali community across the US, as concerns grow that some are being recruited to radicalization and association with al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists. About two dozen teenagers and young men have disappeared from the Minneapolis area, and returned to the Horn of Africa over the past two years, according to the FBI. Some critics say that what the FBI calls community outreach to bridge closer ties to US-Somali communities, actually involved the use of coercion, threats, and intimidation. “The Somali Muslim community in particular feels they are under siege by law enforcement,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Ireland: Handshake costs Muslim volunteer prize

A Muslim asylum seeker in Ireland has been denied an award for his volunteer work after asking organizers that he not shake the hand of the woman presenting the award. Instead, the judges at the National Consultive Committee on Racism and Inter-culturalism decided that someone else should receive the award. The man, Alinoor Ahmed Sheikh, is a Somali Muslim based in a asylum hostel in Tralee, was to receive an award for his efforts to raise funds for Amnesty International. Sheikh said that he received assurance from the organizers that his request be respected; but five minutes before the announcement of the prize, his name was crossed out and the prize was instead given to an absent volunteer.