(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/30/09) – A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to address concerns about possible civil rights violations resulting from FBI investigation guidelines instituted in the last days of the Bush administration.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued that call after the release of a redacted version of the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide that whites-out portions (Part 16) about guidance on “undisclosed participation,” which relates to the use of confidential informants in American houses of worship such as mosques.
SEE: FBI Disclosure Stokes Fears (Politico)
SEE ALSO: FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide
It is the FBI’s use of informants in mosques without probable cause indicating criminal activity that has been of particular concern to the American Muslim community and, in part, caused national Islamic groups earlier this year to consider suspending ties with the FBI.
SEE: U.S. Muslim Coalitions Considers Suspending Ties with FBI
SEE ALSO: How Far Should FBI Go in Tracking Muslims? (CS Monitor)
Other civil liberties concerns center on the FBI’s vague rules for initiating an “assessment,” or initial investigation that does not require “any particular factual predication,” and the possible use of race and ethnicity as factors in opening an investigation.
Fact Sheet – New Attorney General Guidelines
“These newly-revealed guidelines for FBI investigations only serve to heighten concerns that the Bush administration put in place policies that will inevitably lead to violations of the Constitution and of the right of all Americans to practice their faith without fear of government intrusion or intimidation,” said CAIR National Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili. “The Obama administration should review these guidelines and bring them into conformity with the Constitution and with the cherished American values of religious freedom and respect for civil liberties.”
Al-Khalili noted that just yesterday, a newspaper in Mississippi reported that a U.S. attorney’s office has been targeting Muslim store owners in that state in a post-9/11 crackdown, although they have no connection to terrorism.
SEE: U.S. Attorney Targeted N. Miss. Store Owners
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org