Monitoring Muslims places of Worship

Category: Americas, Nature & Science Views: 4672

The news that the FBI was monitoring masajid, Islamic centers, Muslim businesses and homes for radioactive material was rather shocking. We, in the Muslim community knew it even before 9/11 that our homes, mosques and businesses were under surveillance and our phones and public meetings were wire taped. We knew that many in the federal law enforcement agencies had found informant from amongst Muslims to spy on us and to record our deliberations in various conferences and conventions. This is nothing new. Intelligence gathering agencies indulge in this sort of activities all over the world. They are paid to do this job and they enjoy doing it. 

However, what was shocking is the fact that Muslim places of worship were being monitored for explosive or dirty bomb material. Those who have engineered this campaign reveal the biases and misconception about Islam in their mind. By organizing such an investigation, the federal intelligence agency has raised several questions about the nature of Islam and the Muslim American community. It certainly has given legitimacy to ideas promoted by some fanatic Christian evangelical leaders including Franklin Graham that Islam is a religion of terror and Muslim places of worship are a source of danger to national security. It certainly has strengthened the notion found among many Islamophoists including Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell that Muslim Americans cannot be trusted regardless of their overtly expressed commitment to patriotism.

Needless to say that this goes against all those basic values of justice and freedom that lured many immigrants including Muslims from all over the world to this land. During their exercise of their rights as citizens of the United States of America, Muslim Americans have proved beyond doubt that they are a law-abiding community. Crime rates among Muslims are the lowest in the country. Hardly one percent of their community members is involved in over 12,000 murders that occur annually in our country and hardly .3 percent are involved in rape that occurs every four minutes. Rarely one finds a Muslim name in over 670 gun violence related deaths every week. Moreover, the presence of Muslims in law enforcement agencies and in the military speaks of volumes of their commitment to defend the country risking their lives.

On issues such as suicide bombing, terror against innocent civilians and using violence for sociopolitical changes, their perspectives are principled and peaceful. Not only they have condemned senseless killing of innocent people, but they have also challenged the theological foundations of those that advocate and justify violence in the name of their religion.

Yet, those who have been monitoring Muslim places of worship for radioactive material neither take these facts into considerations nor accept the Muslim claim of patriotism seriously. Rather, through their action many in the law enforcement agencies promote the already existing stereotypes that have hurt Islam and Muslims seriously in the social and political arena.

This is a matter that should be viewed seriously by our Congress and Judiciary. It is the responsibility of our Representatives to ensure that legislation they approve is not misused to promote a specific religious or political agenda. Perhaps a congressional inquiry in this issue would set records straight. Such an inquiry may reveal the true nature of the ongoing investigation. If there is a basis for such an investigation, then the Muslim community must know about it. If not, then the community must be spared from such a trial that is no less than imposing collective punishment for the crimes committed by some 19 foreigners who had little to do with either Islam or Muslim Americans.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada and editor of the Muslim weekly Muslim Observer published from Detroit.



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  17 Comments   Comment

  1. Cherine from USA

    Gee, do they really think Muslims are saying, "Honey can you pass me that radioactive can of plutonium right behind the baby bottle?"

    How ridiculous, it would be laughable if it wasn't such a misplaced and tremendous waste of money and energy.

  2. Hudd from Canada

    Well, the trouble is not with the possibility of Muslims having something to hide. The problem is one of principle. You do not monitor places of worship for weapons of mass distruction. How stupid is that? If You didn't find them in Iraq, will you find them in a US Mosque? Is this government retarded or only the president? By the way, whom would the American Muslims target with nuclear weapons? Would they be safe in an eventual nuclear fallout? Here is the problem: Depicting Muslims as blood thirsty and as suicidal maniacs ready to blow up their whole community with the entire country. Again this proves that a great majority from the American non-Muslims are still very ignorant and prejudiced against Muslims and have no idea of the causes of terrorism and suicide bombers. When USA will begin treating the American Muslims similarly to what their brothers, the Israelis, treat Palestinians then they should be concerned. If the American government starts concentration camps and jails like Abu Ghraib and GITMO on US soil where American Muslims would be detained and sexually experimented indefinitely, then they should girdle up for an iminent American intifada! But as long as they treat Muslims as any American they have nothing to fear, let alone the hysteria of WMD! Pathetic!

    So long!

  3. Faliku from USA

    True Muslims do not have anything to hide. Our Imams are certainly not afraid to speak against the vices in society. They don't do it secretly. They do it every Friday from their minbar, because they are afraid of only one entity--Almighty Allah (the One mighty in Power). I just don't understand why it is taking humanity so long to understand that Muslims are just as victims of terrorism as any other person. Terrorists, who happen to be Muslims, have thrown bombs in mosques full of fellow worshippers. They have killed prominent Muslim leaders as well as ordinary people. So why are we indicting all Muslims for the actions of few disgruntled Muslims? Monitoring mosques should not be an issue if we do not have anything to hide. What I hope these monitors will not do is: desecrate our places of worship. I am sure some agents have been present among the worshippers at some point in time, but as long as they remove their footwear before entering these mosques and as long as the female agents dress appropriately when they visit the mosques, there shouldn't be any problem. And to the writer who is offering solution for the defeat of Islam, I think he should redirect his energies to a more productive objective, because Islam has survived over fourteen hundred years of persecution. And more and more believers are continuing to persevere. Islam is here to stay because the Almighty has said so; and as mortals, we are helpless when He decrees a thing. So let us come to grips with realities. Assalam Alaikoom!

  4. Daniel McCue from US

    The only information which can be gained from monitoring for radioactive material is whether the material is present or not. If there is no radioactive material present then there should be nothing to hide.

  5. Dangerfield from England

    I think it important that the factual information contained in the article is published widely but I do not agree with all the conclusions the author draws. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" and that is the role of the intelligence services. Evidence shows that it is possoble for mosques to be used for seditious purposes, e.g. Finsbury Park Mosque in London.

    However, it is the misuse of intelligence which is reprehensible and, unfortunately the USA and the UK have become countries where such intelligence is not only misused but is also fabricated to justify the imperial inclinations of the president and prime minister. Dr Abdullah is entitled to freely express his opinions but my fear is that he risks being unethically imprisoned by the biggest colonial empire since Britain, and before that Rome. The distribution of facts is not looked upon favourably by our rulers.

  6. abdul from US

    MONITOR:--

    your churches and priests,religious leaders (for ?- Biblical christianic values, sex scandals, pornography)

    your wives,daugters,sisters,mothers (for

    multiple sex partners,infidelity,christian

    morality etc)

    your politicians ( many liars)

    your soldiers,police,CIA,FBI

    your companies that deceive elderly & citizens(insurance,business etc)

    LIST goes on ..........

    Remember good things(like charity, prayers, caring, sharing,love) start first with you, your family, community,and then promote these good values religious/nonreligious values to other people/countries without force or invasions.

  7. Jane from California

    I agree with the author. There're so many Muslims who have contributed greatly to the American economy and society. Just look at the patent holders in Silicon Valley. It's not surprising to see patent holders with names like Ibrahim, Muhammad, etc. I'm glad the author pointed out that Muslims are generally law-abiding. As far as I am concerned, Muslims make good neighbors. When criminals are flashed on the screens in the evening news, I don't see the reporters specifying the religion of each alleged criminal. However if a Muslim is involved in a crime, there you go again, it is always assumed that it is religiously motivated, hence Muslims are just bad people. Doesn't it occur to anybody that that particular Muslim involved in the alleged crime is a menace to society just as much as that Christian Timothy McVeigh?

    To the comment made by fellow reader, Bruce Barnes, I'm not sure what you mean by bilblical Christianity. Do you mean the kind that inspired the Spanish Inquisition, which caused so many Jews to flee to the Arab countries? Or the kind that dehumanized black people so much in this country that led to lynching as a form of spectacle for the good white folks' viewing pleasure. However if you mean "love thy neighbor", I strongly encourage that as long as there's no hidden agenda. Why, because whenever there's a hidden agenda, there's no blessing in the effort. I certainly hope that you're not one of those who chooses to believe the worst of Islam. Otherwise why would you come to this website?

    Comment about this FBI monitoring...Big Brother just gets bigger but the bigger problem is this "brother" ain't very smart! This kind of intelligence gathering is outrageous. What was the basis of this type of monitoring? So, after all this hype, where's the evidence?

  8. Doin Phine from Canada

    The opinion of Dr. Aslam Abdullah has been proven wrong since 2005-7-7. When did he originally write the article?

  9. abdul from US

    You have enough to monitor:

    Sex Criminals and offenders , Politicians, Criminals, Gangsters, Priests in sex scandals, Foster parents People/Associations giving BRIBES (in form of donatios,fundraisings, Charities),drug traffickers, schools teachers having sexual relations with their students, domestic abuse,companies doing business overseas, soldiers doing abuse overseas, corporatins and CEOs,Police, Chariites orgs.

    The list never ends.....

  10. abdul from US

    The present Biblical Christianity is a completely changed ,manipulated faith by some christians priests etc.

    Even JESUS(pbuh) will be shoched and sorry to see you people completely changed the book of GOD(BIBLE)and started worshipping him instead of ONE GOD...as Moses was shocked to see his peoplle worshipping a cow when he descended from mount sinai with the commandments of the same GOD( God of Adam, Abraham,Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad-pbut-peace be upon them.)

    Islam is a complete,practical, and perfect religion for all mankind, and makes sense.

    Please read the Quran and Hadith yourself instead of hearing from your friends and media. Do not be afraid.It is a complete guide to living:- Politics, eating, dressing, justice, financing, loving and so on.

    There is only one GOD who is worshipped by muslims and all the prophets of ISLAM-Adam to Muhammad (including Abraham, Moses and JESUS.)

    Wake up and come to Islam!

  11. Carl Davis from USA

    I don't have an opinion on whether the mosques and places of worships should be monitored or not but I do believe that it is,due to the statistics of this article it is,not believeable to the rest of the world that Islam is the cause for terrorism. There are Muslims all over the world of many nationalities. These terrorists are predominantly Arab and do not represent the Arab Sunni Community.

    My best friend just lost a loved one in the war this past weekend. An American Soldier who was a black Sunni Muslim who's ancestors come from Africa, left behind an American girl less than 3 years of age.

    It is a disgrace that as educated as a country we are this outright will to do what is wrong in the name of God and Christianity is a sin. Lying to our country about the facts is not going to work. We all will know the truth soon. God will not allow this to go on.

    Christians and Muslims should unite in the name of God and stand up against this foolishness.

  12. Jamy Donnelly from US

    I am American muslim and have been for most of my life. I absolutely disagree with the monitoring of mosques, or for that matter ANY place of worship. People are quick to forget that our nation was founded on principles of religous freedom. I come from a catholic family, and to my knowledge, none of their places of worship are monitored. I personally would never intentionally hurt another human being regardless of their faith, so I don't understand why I should be assumed a risk. It troubles me that such a stigma exsists in America even after all that has happened to us as a nation. I pray that all of us will find peace, and I thank you for your insight. Great article !

  13. Sayed NoorulHaque from USA

    Dr. Abdullah, the problem is with your skills as to how to write on an issue. Your claims of innocence of Muslim community are as fuitle as those of Falwell and Robertson to the contrary.

    At one stage you do provide the lower crime rates among the Muslims but fail to link it to terrorism as a crime. Terrorism is a different kind of crime that may not be committed by rapists and thieves (None of the 19 highjacker and the British Underground bombers were law abiding citizens). So I don't know you have a point. Let me ask you that

    if one of your three chlidren has been causght stealing, who are you going to keep an eye on? The two who never stole? This is what you are trying to sell in your writeup. No one is going to buy it.

    So, learn how to address an issue in an article, collect data, and then lay it out to make sense by making a statement and providing a proof.

    It is a common misunderstanding in our communities that if one is successful in making a few pennies more than others he must be successful doing anything - Wrong. Just like MDs are elected always to be presidents of Islamic Centers. These are two different kinds of skills.

    Sayed NoorulHaque

  14. Yusaf Ali from Canada

    I fully agree with this article. This government policy seems like a long term strategy to discourage Muslims from immigrating to US.

    Best Regards.

  15. joy boatman from united states

    i am upset that my country would do such i thing in a place of worship i am deeply angered.....

  16. Bruce Barnes from USA

    Biblical Christianity and it's spread is the answer to countering and defeating Islam.

  17. NA from US

    Monitoring Islamic mosques is out right shocking

    but I guess they will do whatever it is necessary to point the finger at Muslims for a job they did and blaming the innocent Muslims. I guess they have not monitored other place of worship like

    the temples, churches.