If You are Saudi the FBI is NOT Your Friend

We’ve heard it all before and so many times over and over… “we’re with the government and we are here to help.” Or instead “YOU can be such a great help to us, fostering and promoting greater understanding and tolerance.” Or perhaps “This is a friendly visit. It is your choice whether you cooperate or talk to us. No hard feelings if you do not choose to cooperate but yes, we can make life difficult for you in America if we wish too.” Or maybe even “well, you are a Saudi married to an American and not a citizen…you might wish to cooperate with us in case you’d like to stay in America or be able to come back for visits as you wish.”

Oh yes, the above are all tactics the FBI have used towards trying to get Saudis (and other Arabs and muslims) to basically spy for them. Spy as in responding to FBI questions as to who fellow Saudi, Arab and muslim friends are, what they think, what they do, where they go. But of course, this will all be labeled on fostering better understanding.

And sadly, too many Saudis, Arabs and muslims will believe it is their duty to respond and cooperate with the FBI. It is not because they really want to but they fear if they do not they or others in their family may face deportation or worse. What could be worse than deportation you may ask? How about FBI officials who may choose to abuse their authority and power and if one gets on their wrong side, may have a Saudi, Arab or Muslim placed on the terrorist watchlist – without due cause or evidence? Never say never.

Now I’m not saying that one should never cooperate or want to help but if the type of help being asked for does not sound right, does not feel right and makes you feel that you are compromising your rights, ethics and values, do not let them coerce you. Go and seek advice from your embassy (if you are a non-American and approached by the FBI in the United States) or a reputable institution such as the U.S. Muslim Coalition or others.

The following release further reinforces my strong feelings on this issue:

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 13:21:20 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: U.S. Muslim Coalition Considers Suspending Relations with FBI


U.S. Muslim Coalition Considers Suspending Relations with FBI
Move comes following incidents of FBI targeting mosques, Muslim groups

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/17/2009) – A coalition* of major national Islamic
organizations today announced that it is considering suspending
outreach relations with the FBI, citing recent incidents in which
American mosques and Muslim groups have been targeted.

In a statement, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and
Elections (AMT), said:

Muslim communities throughout the United States have made significant
advances in promoting and contributing to a fair, free and pluralistic

Through civil rights advocacy, civic and political engagement, and the
promotion of dialogue with interfaith leaders and law enforcement
agencies, Muslim Americans continue to be a positive and stabilizing
force in keeping our nation safe and secure from acts of violence and
foreign threats.

Despite fear-mongering by a vocal minority, Muslim Americans are
natural allies of law enforcement agencies in ensuring the wellbeing
of our nation. Muslims are law-abiding and productive citizens who
uphold the democratic principles of freedom, equality and justice.

Yet recent incidents targeting American Muslims lead us to consider
suspending ongoing outreach efforts with the FBI.

In California, the FBI sent a convicted criminal to pose as an agent
provocateur in several of that state’s mosques. An FBI agent allegedly
told one of the mosque attendees that the agency would make his life a
“living hell” if he did not become an informant.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) wrote in a recent statement,
headlined “FBI Losing Partnership with American Muslim Community” –
“Trust is the cornerstone of any partnership between law enforcement
and communities. It can only be established and maintained through
clear and open communication. Without this, trust is eroded and
suspicions arise on all sides. This clearly does not serve anyone’s
interests…It is now up to the FBI and law enforcement agencies to
re-engage with the Muslim American community, and re-build trust and

Early last fall, the FBI began a disengagement campaign in its
relations with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the
nation’s largest and most respected Muslim civil rights
organization.The FBI suspended contacts with CAIR pending the
resolution of unspecified “issues.”

In response, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an
umbrella organization of many Muslim groups, suspended outreach to the
FBI in February. The council’s letter to the FBI stated in part:

“Our commitment to ensuring the rights, interests, and prosperity of
American Muslims and all Americans is unconditional. We hope the FBI
will have the foresight to restore its relationship with such a vital
link to the American Muslim community.”

We believe the FBI’s unjustified actions are based on the May 2007
designation of some 300 groups and individuals, including several
major American Muslim groups such as CAIR, the Islamic society of
North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), as
“unindicted co-conspirators” (UCC) in conjunction with the Holy Land
Foundation trial in Dallas, Texas.

Making this unjust designation public violates the Justice
Department’s own guidelines and wrongly implies that those listed are
somehow involved in criminal activity.

Bias and faulty premises dominated post-9/11 law enforcement analysis
of the Muslim community and the threat assessment to national
security.The waning days of the previous administration witnessed a
flourishing of anti-Muslim activity.

There is even inter-agency information being disseminated that claims
civil rights advocacy is part of a Muslim conspiracy to implement
Shari’a law in order to destroy the United States.Recent government
actions seemed to be based on this bizarre premise.

These McCarthy-era tactics are detrimental to a free society.

The credibility of all Muslim organizations who maintain ties to the
FBI that do not react decisively is undermined in the eyes of the
community.Our fear is that counter-intelligence programs are quelling
lawful dissent.

What is most frightening is that FBI abuses are no longer covert, and
are slowly being integrated into the already expansive laws regulating
law enforcement activity.

Internationally, in light of President Obama’s initiative of dialogue
with the Muslim world, such actions negatively impact U.S. interests.

If the FBI does not accord fair and equitable treatment to every
American Muslim organization, including CAIR, ISNA and NAIT, then
Muslim organizations, mosques and individuals will have no choice but
to consider suspending all outreach activities with FBI offices,
agents and other personnel. This possible suspension, of course, would
in no way affect our unshakable duty to report crimes or threats of
violence to our nation.

We call on the FBI to reassess its positions on profiling and the use
of informants as agents provocateurs within the Muslim communities.We
further request objective evaluation of the sources of information and
analysis utilized to formulate decisions.

Notwithstanding such requests, we call on Muslim organizations and
individuals to petition their elected representatives to hold hearings
to address these grave matters of concern to the Muslim community.

We fully expect that the President’s calls for inclusion will not be
derailed by irresponsible elements in and outside of government
fomenting anti-Muslim bias in this great nation.

– END –

To add your organization, mosque or Islamic center as a signatory to
this statement, e-mail: [email protected]

* Signatories to this statement include:

American Muslim Alliance (AMA)
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Islamic Educational Center of Orange County (IEC)
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)
Muslim American Society-Freedom Foundation (MAS-FF)
Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N)
Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA)
United Muslims of America (UMA)


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