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Go to Mosque, Get Spied On

September 27, 2011

Did you know that Terrorist go to mosque all the time and give charitable donations? Say whhaaaaaattt? In video obtained by Danger Room (www.wired.com/dangerroom/) earlier this month, details about the supposedly defunct FBI Counter-terrorism project were made public. In the video, FBI Intelligence analyst William Gawthrop, is shown giving a lecture to agents. In this lecture he is describing the best action that agents can take in combating the war on terrorism: “…go after Islam itself.” He instructs, as he aims his laser pointer at the words “Holy Text” and “Clerics”, his agents to focus on “these”. In other documents provided to Danger Room by whistle blowers, the materials passed out at these FBI trainings attempt to group devout Muslims with radical Muslims. The materials attempt to describe the actions of these “would be terrorist” as “Devout”, relabeling them as the most violent and trying to excuse pillars of Islamic faith as mechanisms of war. The materials go on to describe charitable contributions made by Muslims, which constitute a pillar of Islamic faith, as funding for extremism. The materials described the actions of most moderate Muslims as not being fringe but as the shared mainstream views of the whole of American Muslims.

These practices will do nothing to better our relations with the Muslim-American community. What they will do is further alienate an already alienated segment of our population by validating their suspicions, which are that they are being spied on by government intelligence agencies. Not only does this validate their suspicions, but the very characteristics and practices identified label any “mosque-going” Muslim a potential “threat”, who will be subject to further scrutiny and/or intrigue. What ever happened to investigating people with a violent past or those who have rich histories of stockpiling arms? I really try to avoid throwing up the “race card” but when such vague terminology is so carelessly used, any logical person will be hard pressed to find a suitable excuse. This is a modern-day “Witch Hunt” with elements that mirror the “Red Scare” of the early Cold War. I can’t understand how the “Intelligence” community believes these tactics to be the best? How can harassment ease a relationship? Why do we wish to further incite animosity? Is there another country that needs some savin’?

Things like this make me wonder what the Arab world thinks about Westerners, and in particular Americans. Do they see us all as nosy Christian puppeteers determined to influence every nation in the world? Hopefully their government officials have enough sense to understand that not all Americans are Crusading Christians with their sites on the Mid-East. I am reminded of President George “Dub-ya” Bush’s remarks in 2001 that the “War on Terror” was a “crusade” against evil. A “crusade”, really? And now we blanket the entire Muslim-American community with loose, vague terminology? How responsible we can be! Lets tap into deep seated sentiments and then generalize. Sounds like a recipe for more acts of violence which will surely be followed by security enhancing legislation that is meant to keep us freer, with that “ever watching eye” over our shoulders. Stirring the melting pot never seemed so fun…..

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