Members of an Islamic mosque in Detroit whose leader was killed last fall during a shootout with FBI agents believe that an FBI informant infiltrated the mosque and helped provoke the case, reports the Detroit Free Press. The episode — one of several in the past year involving informants in Muslim-American communities — has prompted growing concern among Muslims and civil rights advocates about undercover surveillance in religious institutions.
Federal officials say they don’t send informants into congregations without reason. House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers of Detroit has asked the U.S. Justice Department to review its policies on using informants in houses of worship. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are seeking a protective order to shield the identities of three informants used in the case. The Free Press pieces together the story of the alleged infiltration, which it says “offers a rare look into the use of FBI informants in Muslim-American communities in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.”