Muslim Groups Disagree That Relations With FBI Are 'Very Good'

June 9, 2009

Author: Salvador Hernandez

Source: The Orange County Register

Local Muslim organizations disagreed Tuesday with FBI Director Robert Mueller's assertion that relations between the groups and the agency are "very good."

Despite continued concerns from Muslim organizations about the FBI's use of informants and surveillance in U.S. mosques, Mueller defended the agency's investigative tactics and described the FBI's relationship with Muslim organizations as mostly positive.

Mueller's comments came days after a Michigan Muslim organization asked the Justice Department to investigate complaints that the FBI has asked mosque members to spy on Islamic leaders and worshippers, a claim that has been repeated in Orange County after an Irvine man publicly claimed he worked with the FBI as an informant at various local mosques and was asked by agents to identify Middle Eastern men in local gyms.

Answering questions from reporters, Mueller said Monday that the FBI conducted operations while following evidence or information of possible criminal activity.

"We don't investigate places; we investigate individuals," Mueller said. "To the extent that there may be evidence or other information of criminal wrongdoings, then we will ... undertake those investigations."

Mueller added. "We will continue to do it."

But local Muslim leaders disagreed with the director's comments, stating that the FBI appeared to be casting a wide net of suspicion on local mosques and Muslim organizations, straining the relationship between the law-enforcement agency and Islamic organizations.