Using new, broad powers of investigation and a much larger budget, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in recent months is targeting Muslim activists for alleged support of terrorist attacks against American lives and property.
Using a 1996 act of Congress with vastly expanded jurisdiction, sharp increases in its budget and anti-terrorism agents, the FBI is cracking down on a variety of Muslim activists suspected of promoting terrorist attacks here and overseas. Individuals such as Mohammed Salah of Bridgeview, Illinois, have been deprived of their bank accounts, their right to private consultations with their doctors and bankers, and in some cases, ownership of their homes.
Admitting that some of the money he has raised from Muslims in America has gone to the political wing of the known terrorist group, Hamas, Salah has become the center of what is turning into a major controversy over religious freedom. According to a story in the Washington Post National Weekly Edition (Nov. 9, 1998) a growing number of civil libertarians and Muslims are claiming that the FBI is using its expanded powers to persecute Muslims who are supporting unpopular causes.
To some constitutional experts, the FBI crackdown raises fundamental questions over depriving suspects of due process and other rights. According to Georgetown University professor David Cole, the FBI is saying the citizenry should trust them but they are “going way overboard.”
— By Erling Jorstad, RW contributing editor