Michigan Muslims Request a Probe Of FBI

April 17, 2009

Author: Gregg Krupa

Source: The Detroit News


A coalition of Muslim organizations asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to investigate complaints that the FBI is approaching local Muslims, asking them to inform on Islamic congregations in Metro Detroit.

Muslim leaders in Michigan and across the country say members of mosques are frequently asked to provide information about activities in their communities.

"We seek to ensure that our country is secure from all threats regardless of the source, but we take exception to community members being asked to spy on law-abiding Americans exercising the constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly," said Victor Ghalib Begg, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, a group that represents mosques and other Michigan Muslim organizations.

John Miller, an assistant director of the FBI, says the agency is properly conducting investigations by rules set by the attorney general and that it "does not conduct fishing expeditions ..."

"We don't investigate buildings," Miller said. "We investigate people based on reasonable cause."

A spokesman for Holder said the Department of Justice is aware of the complaint raised by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, but that it had not yet seen it.

The department intends to evaluate the request when it is received, he said.