Thursday, February 08, 2007

FBI's Racist Targeting and Muslim Leadership's Subservient Attitudes

An interesting article in the Washington Post, "Distrust Hinders FBI In Outreach to Muslims.” Perhaps it should have been titled "FBI's Racist Targeting and Muslim Leadership's Subservient Attitudes Compete With and Past Each Other."

"They're not Muslims," declared Shakeel Syed, head of the 75-mosque Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and a government-approved chaplain who has visited the four men in jail, where they await trial this year. "They don't know anything about Islam."

Self-styled converts with the apple-pie surnames of Patterson, Washington and James, the Americans are "gangbangers, basically," Syed said dismissively, "petty criminals" incapable of responding even to his standard Islamic greetings. The Pakistani, described by Syed as a clueless 21-year-old, "I felt sorry for."
Such racist and divisive (and untrue) language that seeks to distance oneself from the accused group does no service to the community, the religion, or to justice. In fact, it only further reinforces racist stereotypes and divisions among communities, rather than offering a critique of the unjust system. Statements that say “Oh they are not real Muslims” do not address the fact that they are being targeted as “Muslims,” as a part and parcel of the government's racist and anti-Muslim policies. By safely distancing oneself, the message that goes out it that as long as it is not us (or me) being targeted, then such tactics are fine.

Also, by most accounts, all four of the alleged were active members of a Masjid. Converts (new or old), those with a developing knowledge of the deen, and those interested in the deen are NOT dispensable members of the community that can be thrown away so that you can protect yourself, or when politically expedient.

Virtually all 56 FBI field offices and many local police departments have invited Muslim leaders to join multicultural advisory boards and to teach classes in the basics of Islam to agents and police. At community meetings, the FBI listens to Muslim complaints and asks for assistance in finding potential terrorists in their own communities.

"We're spending more money on outreach . . . so we can say: 'Please help us. Please look for people who are turning away from institutions to extremism. Please be our eyes and ears,' " said Philip Mudd, deputy director of the bureau's national security branch.
More money on creating and recruiting informants? Like Osama El-Dawoody? Like Mohamed Alanssi? Both recruited through such “eyes and ears” programs and paid $100,000 each. They were promised more, and those promises reneged upon. The Devil surely deals dirty.

"How much cooperation can we give . . . at the same time we ourselves are part of the problem in [their] eyes?" asked Sadullah Khan, director of the Islamic Center of Irvine, a city between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Pavlov’s dogs:1
Clueless Muslim leaders:0

The FBI acknowledges that the JIS indictments are the only case so far of genuine "self-starters" -- individuals who moved from radical thought to terrorist plans with no overseas involvement and without the aid of radical imams, undercover officers or paid informants.
This is a very profound statement. FBI acknowledging the significant instigating role played by undercover officers and paid informants. In all the spate of cases that keep popping up every few months at opportune moments, the mention of the paid informants and undercover officers is quietly mentioned as a byline at the end of articles or newscasts. These are people employed to produce results, and those results are tied to funding.

As the FBI and Muslims wrestle toward accommodation, local law enforcement officials have come to occupy a safe middle ground for both.
Yes. Now we have counter-terrorism units within the local police agencies, with massive streams of funding so that everyone gets a piece of the pie. Safe middle lucrative ground indeed.

To the irritation of many, the entire force of 700 was made to attend cultural training sessions taught by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Ah, these cultural training programs never end. They are making a difference though. When more than 10 immigration officers barged in to the Siraj family’s home, less than 12 hours after their son was sentenced to 30 years, they came with a female officer. Progress! Before we arrest you as an intimidation tactic, we will be sure to do it in the most culturally sensitive manner possible. Once again, the Muslim alphabet organizations are limited by their myopic understanding to identity politics rather than addressing the fundamental roots, structures and policies of injustice.

One of the most profound things is to see the parallels between such government programs in/for the Muslim community and the COINTELPRO programs that targeted Self-Determination and Power movements among Black, Indigenous, Latino and other oppressed communities. There exists ONE MAJOR difference however: COINTELPRO remained clandestine, even for decades after it was dismantled. But in Muslim communities these programs are open for the public to know, and there is barely a whimper from most of the public, the left, civil rights/liberties advocates. Such is the climate of anti-Muslim attitudes, that these programs are considered justified by the spectrum of political thought.

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