Matthew Harwood, TomDispatch, July 10, 2013
……… Since 9/11, American law enforcement has taken a disproportionate interest in American Muslims across the country, seeing a whole community as a national security threat, particularly in California and New York City. But here’s the thing: the facts that have been piling up ever since that date don’t support such suspicion. Not at all.
The numbers couldn’t be clearer: right-wing extremists have committed far more acts of political violence since 1990 than American Muslims. That law enforcement across the country hasn’t felt similarly compelled to infiltrate and watch over conservative Christian communities in the hopes of disrupting violent right-wing extremism confirms what American Muslims know in their bones: to be different is to be suspect.
CONDUCTING SUSPICIONLESS SURVEILLANCE
In the aftermath of 9/11, law enforcement has infiltrated Muslim American communities and spied on them in ways that would have outraged Americans, had such tactics been used against Christian communities after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, or after any of the other hate crimes or anti-abortion-based acts of violence committed since then by right-wing extremists.
Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by the American Civil Liberties Union make clear that FBI agents in California used community outreach programs to gather intelligence at mosques and other local events, recording the opinions and associations of people not suspected of any crime. In 2008, the FBI loosened its internal guidelines further, allowing agents to collect demographic information on ethnically concentrated communities and map them for intelligence and investigative purposes.
There is no question that the most extreme example of such blanket, suspicion-less surveillance has been conducted by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). As revealed by the Associated Press, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division carried out a secret surveillance program on the city’s varied Muslim communities based on the erroneous belief that their religion makes them more susceptible to violent radicalization.
The program, which continues today, looks something like this, according to MAPPING MUSLIMS: “rakers,” or undercover officers, are sent into neighborhoods to identify “hot spots”—mosques, schools, restaurants, cafes, halal meat shops, hookah bars—and told to chat up people to “gauge sentiment,” while setting up “listening posts.” “Crawlers,” or informants, are then recruited and sent to infiltrate mosques and religious events. They are ordered to record what imams and congregants say and take note of who attended services and meetings.
These crawlers are encouraged to initiate “create and capture” conversations with their targets, bringing up terrorism or some other controversial topic, recording the response, and then sharing it with the NYPD. The intelligence unit also went mobile, checking out and infiltrating American-Muslim student groups from Connecticut to New Jersey and even as far away as Pennsylvania.
When news of the NYPD’s spying program broke, it shattered trust within the city’s Muslim communities, giving rise to general suspicion and fraying community ties of all sorts. This naturally raises the question: How many terrorism plots were identified and disrupted thanks to this widespread and suspicionless surveillance program? The answer: none.
Worse, the chief of the NYPD Intelligence Division admitted in sworn testimony last summer that the Muslim surveillance program did not even generate a single criminal lead. The incredibly invasive, rights-eroding program was a complete bust, a total waste of the resources of the New York City Police Department.
And that’s without even considering what is surely its most harmful aspect: the likelihood that, at least in the short term, it has caused irreparable damage to the Muslim community’s trust in the police. Surveillance, concludes the Mapping Muslims report, “has stifled constitutionally protected activity and destroyed trust between American Muslim communities and the agencies charged with protecting them.”
When people fear the police, tips dry up, potentially making the community less safe. This is important, especially given that the Muslim-American community has helped prevent, depending on whose figures you use, from 21%-40% of all terrorism plots associated with Muslims since 9/11. That’s grounds for cooperation, not alienation: a lesson that would have been learned by a police department with strong ties to and trust in the community.
NUMBERS MAY NOT LIE, BUT THEY SURE CAN BE IGNORED
The idea that American law enforcement’s mass surveillance of Muslim communities is a necessary, if unfortunate, counterterrorism tool rests with the empirically false notion that American Muslims are more prone to political violence than other Americans.
This is simply not true.
According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), right-wing terrorists perpetrated 145 “ideologically motivated homicide incidents” between 1990 and 2010. In that same period, notes START, “al Qaeda affiliates, al Qaeda-inspired extremists, and secular Arab Nationalists committed 27 homicide incidents in the United States involving 16 perpetrators or groups of perpetrators.”
Last November, West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center published a report on America’s violent far-right extremists. Its numbers were even more startling than START’s. “The consolidated dataset,” writes report author Arie Perliger, “includes information on 4,420 violent incidents that occurred between 1990 and 2012 within U.S. borders, and which caused 670 fatalities and injured 3,053 people.” Perliger also found that the number of far-right attacks had jumped 400% in the first 11 years of the 21st century.
It’s highly probable that the FBI drastically undercounts instances of terrorism perpetrated by right-wing extremists because of cultural double standards. As the New America Foundation’s Peter Bergen has noted, attacks associated with anti-abortion or white supremacist ideologies are rarely, if ever, counted as terrorist attacks. A typical example: the massacre of worshippers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in August 2012 by a white supremacist.
Simply put, there is an unhealthy obsession among American law enforcement agencies (and American society at large) with stopping violence perpetrated by American Muslims, one that is wholly out of line with the numbers. There is no doubt that the events of 9/11 play into this—never mind that not one hijacker was American—but there is something much darker at work here as well. It’s the fear of a people, a culture, and a religion that most Americans do not understand and therefore see as alien and dangerous.
The fear of the “other” has wiggled its way into the core of another American generation. ……………
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Danish immigration official to unhappy Muslims:
“Denmark is the land of the Danes and you are more than welcome to become a Dane and take part in the work and community. But to those Muslims who constantly work against us, constantly question us, are unsatisfied, encourage going to holy war in Syria, commit honour killings, belittle our values, flag or way of living – to all of you: Go and find somewhere else to live. No one is forcing you to stay. We accepted you and now it’s up to you to show the necessary respect for our society and the values it is built upon.”
Is this guy an American Muslim?
I like this one-
It’s highly probable that the FBI drastically undercounts instances of terrorism perpetrated by right-wing
so FOS at that sentence he proved it!
and how do you post some many paragraphs?
deme, elk gets to post as many regurgitated paragraphs from the Ministry of Truth that he has time for... and the FBI has been proven to be not only involved, but the infiltrating, patsy-finding, instigating planner and provider of logistics for most of the terror plots they foil, and they let some happen... Like the 1993 WTC bombing for instance. They set up a patsy and provided him a van and a live bomb.
A curtain-pulling, charade-shaking, psychology-delving treatise would never post here, not even for elk.
You are free to talk about some of the elephants in the room, as long as it is within the prescribed confines provided, tacitly, by our overlords. Feel free to ridicule and disparage anyone who persistently points out the other elephants in the room and then foolishly tries to discuss the how the flippin' elephants got into the penthouse and who helped them onto the elevator.
"Is this guy an American Muslim?"
No he just hates everyone, known guys like this, his dad and/or mom drank too much, suffered at minimum physical abuse as a child, got stuck in a job he hates and never was lucky at love, alone and miserable now. Only thing he knows about religion is what he hears at Westboro Baptist Church from Fred and Shirley, read his posts, I have said it before, muzz is a Phelps! Just not sure which one, I suspect he is the basturd child Shirley had with the unnamed convict.