We Deserve Better

By Jeannine Sherman

November 18, 2022

1.  According to a 2021 UC Berkeley survey, “most Muslims engage in self-censorship out of fear of how people might respond or react to them”.


Have we reached a world in which we police our own thoughts? Isn’t that the opposite of what living in a free country is all about?


MLFA is working to change the laws and policies that target the Muslim community in the United States for this and many other reasons.


2. “The FBI is responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than any other organization.” (Trevor Aaronson)


The FBI is working to create terrorism situations before they happen. This effectively means that the FBI is creating crime. Often they are the ones funding and arming the so-called domestic terrorists. As MLFA Book Club author Trevor Aaronson explains in his TED talk, “How This FBI Strategy is Actually Creating US-based Terrorists”, “The FBI is much better at creating terrorists than it is at catching terrorists”.


3. FBI informants target mentally ill and economically desperate people.


Informants may be pressured by their immigration status or the threat of criminal charges to produce results. There are documented cases of informants manipulating the most vulnerable members of our community into participating in fake crimes.


We can’t always control what the FBI does. We do need to be watching out for community members that may be easy targets for informants, and we need to offer our support and protection. When our communities are informed and empowered, it won’t be so easy to pick off the weakest members insha Allah.


4. An informant can earn 100,000 dollars or more for every terrorism case they bring to the FBI.


This provides an incentive for vulnerable or amoral individuals to spy on the Muslim community. This does not help combat domestic terrorism.


5. “In the decade since 9/11, the FBI has built the largest network of spies ever to exist in the United States – with ten times as many informants on the streets today as there were during the famous Cointelpro operations under FBI director J. Edgar Hoover – with the majority of these spies focused on ferreting out terrorism in Muslim communities.” (The Terror Factory, 16)


The yearly budget for domestic counterterrorism is $3.3 billion. According to Trevor Aaronson’s 2015 TED Talk, there were about six actual terrorist attacks in the United States. However, in roughly the same time frame, there were over 500 defendants that the U.S. government considered terrorists: “Of the 508 defendants, 243 had been targeted through an FBI informant, 158 had been caught in an FBI terrorism sting, and 49 had encountered an agent provocateur” (The Terror Factory, 15).


Reading The Terror Factory for the MLFA Book Club, I’m struck by how this is not a real problem. The media coverage, especially right after 9/11, made it seem like Al-Qaeda was recruiting from every dark corner. Aaronson’s research reveals that almost all of the so-called terrorists were recruited by the FBI themselves.


Join the MLFA Book Club to continue these crucial discussions with the author himself.


Stand with MLFA against the wasteful spending of FBI counterterrorism efforts. Stand with MLFA for changes in law and policy that reflect the promise of liberty and justice for all.



Sources


Aaronson, Trevor. The Terror Factory.

Trevor Aaronson: How this FBI strategy is actually creating US-based terrorists | TED Talk

US v Osmakac Motion Exhibit 2 – DocumentCloud. Sealed FBI transcripts published online by The Intercept.

Islamophobia Through the Eyes of Muslims.pdf (berkeley.edu)