The FBI and Nassau police Monday declined to comment directly about Rep. Peter King's assertion that U.S. Muslims are uncooperative with police, but stressed that they do not focus investigations on particular religious denominations.
However, a spokeswoman for the federal Department of Homeland Security, Amy Kudwa, rejected King's assertion, saying it "would be unfair and inaccurate to characterize each Muslim community in the United States in a single statement."
In an MSNBC interview Friday about a Department of Homeland Security report about the resurgence of right-wing extremism, King complained of a lack of department reports and assessments of Islamic extremists; he noted that on Long Island "there are a number of mosques under surveillance by law enforcement agencies."
King (R-Seaford) said the department "has never put out a report talking about look out for mosques. Look out for Islamic terrorists in our country. Look out for the fact that very few Muslims come forward to cooperate with the police. If they sent out a report saying that, there would be hell to pay."
Kudwa said that while the department does not conduct surveillance on mosques, "We've issued dozens of notes, bulletins and assessments on Islamic extremists. Though most are foreign, we have acknowledged potential domestic threats, including the warning issue on al-Shabaab and potential threats to the inauguration."
On Monday, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on the FBI to "confirm or deny" King's claim that Long Island mosques were under law enforcement surveillance. The FBI, while not addressing King's comments, said its investigations target individuals, not organizations. "The FBI does not investigate mosques or other houses of worship," spokesman James Margolin said in a statement Monday. "With proper predication, consistent with FBI and Department of Justice investigative guidelines and Constitutional protections, the FBI investigates individuals to determine whether they are engaged in or plotting criminal or terrorist acts."
Nassau Police Det. Lt. Kevin Smith, while declining to address King's comments, said the department's relations with mosques are "on par" with other religious groups. (More)