To talk or not to talk with FBI

Should Muslim Organizations withdraw from the ongoing dialogue with the FBI? The American Task Force, a representative body of Muslim organizations created to have a unified political agenda, supports the idea of Muslim withdrawal. CAIR, a constituent of the ATF calls the ongoing FBI tactics, a smear campaign against Islam and Muslims and describes the dialogue with the FBI a futile effort. Some other Muslim organizations have expressed similar opinions.

This position emerged when it was disclosed a few months ago that FBI had planted a spy in a Southern California mosque and launched a sting operation to target a few suspected individuals.

The questions that need to be asked are: Whether it is legal and constitutional on the part of FBI to initiate these tactics? Is there some strong evidence to suggest that some FBI officials acted on the basis of their personal biases against Muslims and Islam? Is there any evidence that the law enforcement agencies violated any law or acted against the spirit of our constitution? If they did, we must knock every door to bring them to task, no matter what the price.

We are a nation that adheres to laws. Even if lies are fabricated, they are done legally. For instance, the legality of Iraq war was based on manufactured fears and doctored lies by the previous Administration.

The present Obama Administration is in the process of changing the nation's Iraq policy legally when it assumed responsibilities after the election.

Were any laws broken? That should be the main concern of conscious citizens? No one is above law and no one should be allowed to get away with his or her illegal action.

There have been several documented cases of FBI abuse of power weather it is related to collecting personal information or detaining people. Nevertheless  dialogue with FBI, regardless of what its office did in Southern California or may do in other places must continue for a few important reasons. If Muslims are not in direct communication with those whose reports and analysis ultimately contribute to major policy formation, someone else will communicate about Islam and Muslim and that someone else may not be as passionate about the issues the community considers high on its priority list.

In late 2007, LAPD's fatuous plan to map the Muslim community in the Los Angeles area was canceled by the LAPD because of a concerted involvement and communication of the local Muslim community with LAPD.

The FBI agents are not very well informed on every thing they are investigating. Their knowledge is based on limited interaction and understanding of the Muslim community. Any reduction of access to Muslim resources on issues of importance will further hinder their ability to develop a better understanding. Additionally, we must never look at any law enforcement agency as an adversary. This will unnecessary complicate the nature of relationship. FBI is run from the money that we as tax payers give to our government that we elect to serve our interests. If our interests are not served properly, we must always take a constitutional path to ensure that we are not treated unjustly.

If we feel that laws are unethical, we must stand up and challenge the constitutionality of those laws.

Certainly, there are situations where we feel that our rights are violated. We must never keep quiet on these issues. But the path of dialogue must never be abandoned, In a civil society that is the only way to develop a better understanding.

By being in dialogue with the police and FBI we do not surrender our dignity or rights of citizenship. By sharing our understanding of our faith or community, we do not serve as an agent for any group.

Through dialogue, we must express our concerns and grievances and if they are not heard, we must try to enlist the support of our legislatures and representatives.

Of course, there are government officials who often cross their limits set by law. They must be challenged and questioned. There are agents who might use the state resources to serve their political and religious agenda. We must hold them to task. But this would be possible only when we engage in a sober and serious dialogue. The FBI must also realize that it is dealing with a community whose members have chosen to be citizens of this country not only because of the opportunities available here, but also because of the rule of law that it holds supreme. They are as patriotic as the law enforcement officials are. If they suspect anyone for any illegal activity, they should take the Muslim leadership in confidence to ensure that misunderstanding can be avoided. But this would happen when both trust each other. Withdrawal from the dialogue would close the door for building such trust.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor of the Detroit based English weekly, Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic Society of Nevada, Las Vegas and the recently elected General Secretary of the World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relation. He is also the vice President of the Muslim Council of America, MCA.

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Older Comments:
Hi abdul
Let the non believers know that nothing ever built on falsehood and deceit has ever existed, all their attrocities shall follow the time honoured pattern. LET THEM CONTINUE,THEIR DESTINATION IS DOOMMM.

This is going to get worse before it gets better. They (FBI)make it their business to spy on Muslims in their homeland or the West.

It is a shame that in this day and time John Jakes would say that. This shows the ignorance of people today. Look at yourself and your country before you go to other places to look for trouble. The problem with the muslims is that we have not been following the Qur'an. When Allah says to steer clear of the jews and christians He(swt) was not saying not to be friends with them. He(swt) was saying not to take them as intimates and protectors. Read your Qur'an and Hadith as to why. Allah also says in the Qur'an: Never will the non-believers be satisfied with you until you believe what they believe. And He(swt) always speak the truth. Contact me at [email protected] for more info.

Mr. Abdul
I am not shocked to see your response specially your interpretation of the Quranic verse that you translate as: donot take Jews and Christians as your friends.
I am disturbed at this translation because it does not present the divine view within the context of the overall Quranic message.
The Quran allows Muslims to marry Chrisitan and Jewish women. Who could be a better friend than a wife.

You all should keep in mind that trying to impose Islam on the world by means of Jihad using terrorism,lies, blackmail,oil, etc will only aid in the further embrace, evangelization, and employment of Biblicakl Christianity in the US and around the world,

Mr. Abdullah, Your statement to follow blindly -Allah's instructions to be safe is simply rediculous. Afterall, Muslims have been in the present state of Misery for a long time despite their following Allah's commands as written in Koran. How do you explain that. I say, just get out the closed box. Then all will be well.

Just remember in dealing with these people Allah (swt) says: O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies: they are but allies of one another and whoever of you allies himself with them becomes, verily, one of them; behold, God does not guide such evildoers.Surah 5:51 Please, do not try to dispute this. You can't. Just follow Allah's instructions to be safe.


Our this the same
constitution that has the fugitive slave clause"

It does not matter. Whatever you tell the FBI (if
you knew you were talking to FBI in the first
place), a good FBI agent will not believe you any
how; so it is immaterial whether muslims
cooperate with FBI or not.

FBI can accomplish its tasks easily. When FBI can
penetrate such groups like Mafia and organized
crime groups, Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, etc
what makes you think, FBI cannot penetrate muslim
and their organizations? You rarely hear
anything about Mafia anymore; they were
eliminated decades ago. Ku Klux Klan and Aryan
Nations (and various extremist groups) still
exist; all they do is talk (constitutionally
protected activity), but otherwise are totally
ineffective. Even various militia groups, though
existing, are ineffective.