For Immediate Release
CAIR Asks DOJ to Address Civil Liberties Concerns About FBI Manual
Guidelines on possible surveillance of mosques redacted from newly-released document
WASHINGTON - 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.
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.
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.
FRIENDS: Help Us Fight
Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder