NSA and FBI Spying on Law-Abiding Muslim Americans

DALLAS — July 10, 2014 — Muslim Legal Fund of America joined other national organizations in expressing outrage over government agency spying on Muslim Americans without suspicion of criminal activity.

Groups demand investigation into abuse of surveillance powers, anti-Muslim bias.

In an article published by The Intercept, the authors list five prominent, law-abiding Muslim Americans who have been victims of unjustified NSA and FBI surveillance. The article, written by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain, is based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The five victims are (listed and described verbatim from the article):

  • Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;
  • Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;
  • Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;
  • Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;
  • Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country.

These new revelations further demonstrate anti-Muslim bias in federal law enforcement culture. For example, the term “Mohammed Raghead” was used as a placeholder in a government training document on the surveillance request process. Federal law enforcement training has includeddocuments prepared and presented by anti-Muslim activists who claim religious Muslims are violent because of their faith and are a threat to America’s safety and security.

“It is unconscionable that law enforcement is basing any portion of its surveillance program on religious affiliation,” said Khalil Meek, executive director of MLFA. “Americans deserve a thorough investigation that leads to corrective actions against individuals responsible for these clear violations of our constitutional liberties.”

MLFA joined other organizations in a letter to President Barack Obama in which the organizations call for an investigation into the government’s discriminatory surveillance activities. In the letter, the organizations stated:

These practices hurt not only American Muslims, but all communities that expect law enforcement to serve and protect America’s diverse population equally, without discrimination. They strike the bedrock of democracy: that no one should grow up fearful of law enforcement, scared to exercise the rights to freedom of speech, association and worship.

Muslim Legal Fund of America is a national charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons, and communities. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, association, religion, the right to a fair trial, and other constitutional rights. Get more information at mlfa.org.

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