A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today said an alleged plot by two men associated with an Albany, N.Y., mosque to help purchase a shoulder-fired missile from an FBI informant is a “deeply troubling” development that should not be used to associate all American Muslims with violence.
In a statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:
“The government’s allegations against the two men are deeply troubling to the American Muslim community. We strongly support any legal efforts to ensure the safety and security of our nation. As the investigation goes forward, we must all remember that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and that the alleged actions of individuals should not be used to tar an entire community with the brush of terrorism.
“All too often, these types of cases are used by those with political or
religious agendas to smear Muslims and to demonize Islam. We should stick
to the facts of the case and avoid generalizations and stereotypes that
only serve to create societal divisions and promote anti-Muslim bigotry.”
CAIR’s statement noted that Federal agents today arrested a Chicago man for
allegedly plotting to blow up a federal courthouse with a fertilizer truck
bomb. The Associated Press reports that Gale William Nettles, 66, was
arrested with a pickup truck containing 1,500 pounds of fertilizer he
allegedly thought was ammonium nitrate, the same substance used to blow up
the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995. Prosecutors say Nettles
apparently had a grudge against the court system and did not belong to any
“Allegations of terrorist activity should be treated equally, whatever the
faith or ethnicity of the alleged perpetrators,” said CAIR.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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