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December 2015
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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Muslims

FBI Issues Alert about Gun-Toting Phoenix Man En Route to Confront Muslim Group

Jon Ritzheimer, via Facebook.

Jon Ritzheimer, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has taken the unusual step of warning New York law enforcement about an anti-Muslim protester who has driven from Arizona to the east coast to confront a group of Muslims, the New York Daily News reports.

Jon Ritzheimer, 32, of Phoenix, posted a video on Nov. 18 with a gun, saying he was going to confront the Muslims.

The FBI was in contact with the former Marine until he became angry and shut off communication while in Scranton, Pa.

Investigators believe he is en route to Hancock, N.Y., where the Muslims of America is located.

Donald Trump’s Call for Spying on U.S. Muslims Recalls Darker Times in FBI

Donald Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump, via Twitter

By Juan Cole

As Donald Trump supporters beat a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protester at his rally in Birmingham, Ala., Trump himself reminded us of the dark days when a paranoid J. Edgar Hoover had the FBI monitor the Rev. Martin Luther King and black Churches of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Trump said in Birmingham, “I want surveillance of certain mosques . . . We’ve had it before, we’ll have it again. … We have a situation where ISIS has raised its ugly head again and we have to chop off that head like they’re chopping off heads.”  He also said he would send Syrian refugees back to Syria if he were elected.  Many Syrian refugees have fled because they would be killed in their homeland.

The African-American protester was beaten, kicked and pulled down, with 8 or 9 people on top of him, as he was called a “monkey” and the N-word.  You wonder if they were wearing brown shirts. The Trump campaign later said it did not condone the behavior, but we haven’t heard Trump himself publicly denounce it. During the altercation, Trump said from the podium, “Yeah, you can get him out. Yeah, get him out. Get him the hell out of here.”

Trump’s desire to spy on American congregations recalls Cointelpro and other domestic surveillance programs of the 1960s that led to massive abuses and in some ways led to Watergate under Nixon.

To read more click here. 

FBI’s Program about Violent Extremism in Schools Draws Criticism

schoolBy Steve Neavling

An interactive program designed by the FBI to help teachers and students identify warning signs of violent extremism has drawn strong criticism Muslims and civil rights leaders, the New York Times reports. 

The program, called “Don’t Be a Puppet,” predominately focuses on Islamic extremism, even though that has not been a factor in school shootings and attacks.

The New York Times wrote:

In the campaign against terrorists such as the Islamic State, law enforcement agencies have been stepping up efforts to identify those susceptible to recruitment. The agencies have enlisted the cooperation and advice of religious and community leaders. But the controversy over the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new online tool is one more indication that there is no consensus on who should be involved in detecting and reporting suspects, and where to draw the line between prevention and racial or religious profiling.

“The F.B.I. is developing a website designed to provide awareness about the dangers of violent extremist predators on the Internet,” a spokeswoman for the agency said late Sunday, “with input from students, educators and community leaders.”

American-Arab Advocate: More Transparency Needed Over FBI Spy Planes

fbi-logBy Fatina Abdrarraboh
for Detroit News

Earlier this month, The Detroit News reported about a series of missions by an FBI spy plane over Dearborn. The plane, which is outfitted with a night vision camera and listening device equipment, flew over a portion of Dearborn and Melvindale for multiple nights. Melvindale has a growing Arab-American population. The section of Dearborn that was flown over have two mosques around the flight pattern of this particular spy plane.

The FBI claims that the flights over this area were not for surveilling the community and are routinely used to track drug dealers and violent extremists. In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge of Metro Detroit Paul Abbate stated, “The FBI does not employ aviation assets to conduct mass surveillance, nor to target specific communities…Further, the FBI Detroit Field Office is not aware of any specific or credible threats within the local Detroit Metropolitan Area.”

Given a lack of transparency regarding what spy planes are really doing, as well as the FBI’s track record locally, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Since the FBI stated there were no specific or credible threats, why were they flying over one particular area for multiple nights? Given that the FBI has used the problematic practice of sending informants into mosques, are they also able to take pictures of cars in one location, like in a mosque parking lot? When using their listening equipment on the spy plane, are they listening and capturing private cell phone conversations?

In recent years, the ACLU uncovered a 2009 FBI memorandum stating that Dearborn was on their radar “because Michigan has a large Middle Eastern and Muslim population, it is prime territory for attempted radicalization and recruitment by terrorist groups.” There is no evidence to suggest that this mapping has ceased, even though there is not a single conviction involving a local Muslim going abroad to join an extremist group in the past decade from the community’s approximately 300,000 people.

Our respective organizations’ constituents, Metro Detroit, and indeed the country have much at stake in the pursuit to ensure individual rights and liberties are protected. We appreciate The Detroit News’ reporting, which provoked questions about the spy plane as well as similar issues prior to this. Investigative reporting is what differentiates open and democratic societies from totalitarian ones. It is media which helps to keep the nation’s citizenry informed in order that we can be more aware when holding our government accountable.

To read more click here. 

Fatina Abdrarraboh is director of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – Michigan.


FBI: Reputed Klansman Planned to Attack Muslims with Mobile, Radiation-Spewing Weapon

courtroomBy Steve Neavling

A reputed Klansman from Saratoga County in New York believed he was capable of making a mobile device that would decimate Muslim towns with radiation.

Unbeknownst to him, he unraveled his plans to FBI agents and a KKK leader who was working with the bureau, The Times Union reports. 

The details were released Wednesday during a federal trial.

The case is expected to go to the jury as early as this week.

Crawford was arrested June 18, 2013. A co-defendant has already pleaded guilty.

Speaking to agents, Crawford bragged about the weapon’s capabilities.

“This could kill whole cities in a night — silently,” Crawford told the agents. “It would be weeks before anybody would have any inkling that anything was wrong and they’d probably drop dead in their beds.”

Other Stories of Interest

ISIS Uses Koran to Justify Raping Non-Muslim Girls in Iraq

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling

ISIS has established a bureaucracy of sex slavery in Iraq and is using the Koran to justify the outrageous practice of raping girls and women who are not Muslims, The New York Times reports.

The extremists are targeting non-Muslims, specifically from the Yazidi religious minority, and have used a network of warehouses to house the victims, who are marketed like livestock and shipped off on buses.

More than 5,200 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are still imprisoned by ISIS, which “has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts,” The Times wrote.

“And the practice has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden.”

ISIS has even published a how-to manual on slavery, using selective readings of the Koran to “celebrate” rape as a “beneficial” and “virtuous” practice.

“Every time that he came to rape me, he would pray,” a 15-year-old girl told the Times. “He said that raping me is his prayer to God. I said to him, ‘What you’re doing to me is wrong, and it will not bring you closer to God.’ And he said, ‘No, it’s allowed. It’s halal.'”

Hamad: FBI Violates Trust with Arab Community over Surveillance Flights

By Imad Hamad
for Detroit News

The recent FBI surveillance planes that were observed flying over Dearborn a few days ago made many revisit the issue of trust between the Arab and Muslim American community and the federal government.

Did these planes fly over Dearborn because of its identity as the hub of the Arab and Muslim American community? Surveillance is an issue of concern to a community that has dealt with different unfortunate episodes, and has become aware of questionable federal law enforcement techniques.

The FBI responded to community concerns by stating that the aerial surveillance is real but its mission is legitimate law enforcement activity and not broad profiling of any particular community. Despite that, many could not help but perceive that the government was profiling the community.

There is a real and acute sense that Arab Americans and Muslim Americans are treated unfairly and viewed suspiciously as a group.

There is no doubt that the U.S. faces a real terror threat. And surveillance, when it comports with the law and the democratic traditions of the nation, is a legitimate and necessary law enforcement tool. The FBI planes are not solely an Arab or Dearborn issue, and portraying them as such is inaccurate and perhaps irresponsible as well.

Most importantly for the Arab and Muslim American community, the news of the FBI planes over parts of Metro Detroit came when the Wall Street Journal published on Aug. 5 a report about FBI efforts to counter violent extremism.

Imad Hamad is executive director of the American Human Rights Council.

To read more, click here.

FBI Accused of Using No-Fly List to Coerce Muslims into Becoming Informants

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is accused of removing people from the no-fly list in exchange for becoming informants.

Al Jazeera America reports that four law-abiding Muslim men were removed from the no-fly list just days before a federal district court in New York hears their case.

According to their lawsuit, Tanvir v. Lynch, the no-fly list is used to coerce Muslims to become informants.

“The fact that the government has confirmed that all four of our clients now can fly really affirms our claims in this lawsuit that the only reason they were ever on a no-fly list is … they were refusing to be informants. There was never any valid reason for their placement,” said Diala Shamas, a senior staff attorney at CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility) at the City University of New York School of Law, which brought the lawsuit along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Debevoise & Plimpton.

The lawsuit alleges Muhammed Tanvir, of New York City, was barred from flying after he refused to become an informant. Then agents offered to remove him if he helped provide information.

“Had Mr. Tanvir actually presented a threat to aviation safety, [FBI agent Sanya] Garcia would not and could not have offered to remove Mr. Tanvir from the list merely in exchange for his willingness to become an informant,” the suit states.