Arab-American and Muslim leaders met yesterday with FBI officials to discuss concerns that Muslim religious places, homes and other buildings were monitored for abnormal radiation levels without search warrants or court orders.
The meeting with FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole, coordinated by the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was held in the wake of press reports that the monitoring began after the September 11, 2001, attacks and lasted through 2003. The FBI has denied that it singled out private Muslim sites for the radioactivity monitoring.
Two Muslim organizations have since filed Freedom of Information Act requests to learn which sites were monitored.
“Today’s meeting, while not resolving all underlying issues of concern, offered an opportunity to improve lines of communication and to increase mutual cooperation on issues related to national security and the prevention of hate crimes,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who participated in the meeting.
Mr. Awad said any security measures that create the perception that the Muslim community in the U.S. is targeted can create difficulties between Muslims and law-enforcement authorities, adding that “such perceptions can also lead to increased Islamophobia and even anti-Muslim hate crimes.”