CAIR Questions FBI Tactics in NY Synagogue ‘Plot’

CAIR Questions FBI Tactics in NY Synagogue ‘Plot’
New details of informant’s actions prompt Muslim group’s concerns

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/26/2009) ­ A prominent
national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today questioned the
FBI’s tactics leading up to the arrest of four New York men for
allegedly plotting to attack Jewish institutions in that state.

Based on early reports of a foiled plot to bomb a synagogue and a
Jewish community center and to shoot down military planes, the
Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) initially
applauded the FBI and the other law enforcement agencies that took part
in the investigation.

In a statement issued today, CAIR cited newly-revealed
details of the case that indicate the alleged “plot” may have been
based more on the financial inducements of a government informant

than on the predisposition to terrorism of three petty criminals and a
mentally ill Haitian immigrant. The Associated Press described the
alleged plotters as “down-and-out ex-convicts living on the margins in
a faded industrial city.”

SEE: Islam Not to Blame for Bronx Terror Plot (Huffington Post)

“This entire scheme seems to be the product of sending yet another
FBI agent provocateur into an American mosque to instigate a ‘plot’
that would likely never have been hatched but for the rhetorical and
financial inducements of the government informant. As a defense attorney said of the informant
in this case, who was also the informant in a previous case, ‘Where he
goes conspiracies blossom.’ According to the family of one of the
suspects, the FBI informant even promised to pay for a liver transplant for his dying brother.

“We need to know who first suggested the specific targets in this
plot and, if it was the FBI informant, why a government agency would
create a scenario that may drive a wedge between two American religious

“These arrests seem to be based on a government formula for
announcing law enforcement ‘victories’ that we have seen all too often
in the past – take a paid informant, insert him into a mosque or
community without probable cause of criminal behavior, locate marginal
characters open to financial or rhetorical inducements, facilitate
criminal actions suggested by the provocateur, and then announce
‘terror’ arrests with great fanfare.

“This formula, which could be used in any faith community, produces
flashy arrests but rests on shaky constitutional ground and does little
to advance legitimate law enforcement goals. It also serves to alienate
an entire religious minority and provides fodder for those who seek to
demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”

SEE: Terrorism Arrests: Snitch, Sting, then Controversy (AP)

CAIR’s statement reiterated the American Muslim community’s
longstanding repudiation of terrorism in all its forms and encouraged
anyone who is aware of criminal activity to immediately contact law
enforcement authorities.

SEE: Muslim Organizations Condemn Terror Plan: Is Anyone Listening?
SEE ALSO: CAIR’s Anti-Terrorism Campaigns

The statement also restated CAIR’s concerns about Justice Department guidelines, implemented under the Bush administration, which allow race and ethnicity to be factors in opening an FBI probe.

In an interview with the New York Post,
the girlfriend of the alleged ringleader said the informant was
constantly around, “It was like he was stalking him.” The girlfriend of
one of the other alleged plotters said: “They aren’t radicals they were
just financially motivated. They aren’t terrorists. If [the informant]
wasn’t in the picture they would’ve never come up with this idea. This
was not their idea. They make it sound like they sought him out and
said we want to do this when he’s the one who approached them. He
enticed them with money.”

The New York Times wrote:
“Everyone called the stranger with all the money ‘Maqsood.’ He would
sit in his Mercedes, waiting in the parking lot of the mosque in
Newburgh, N.Y., until the Friday prayer was over. Then, according to
members of the mosque, the Masjid al-Ikhlas, he approached the young

A lawyer who represented the last terror suspect tried in New York
state called the FBI’s operation “a foolish waste of time and money.”
He said, “It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four
idiots to install as defendants.”

SEE: FBI ‘Lured Dimwits’ Into Terror Plot (The Times)
SEE ALSO: Yet Another Bogus ‘Terror’ Plot (The Nation)

CAIR noted that the FBI informant in a similar case in California
recently stated that he views Islam as a threat to national security.

SEE: FBI Spy: “Islam Itself is a Threat to National Security”

In March, a coalition of major national Islamic organizations announced that it is considering suspending outreach relations with the FBI,
citing similar incidents in which American mosques and Muslim groups
have been targeted. The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and
Elections (AMT) also called on the FBI to reassess the use of
informants as agents provocateurs within the Muslim community.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to
enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil
liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote
justice and mutual understanding.

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