How FBI Outreach Is Working With Arabs, Muslims


For many Muslim and Arab Americans, meeting an FBI agent can be an unsettling, even terrifying experience, says a McClatchy news report in the Miami Herald. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI began to root out suspected terrorists, and Arab and Muslim communities became the bureau’s top targets. To regain their trust, the FBI has embarked on an aggressive national outreach program. The bureau’s efforts, which include mosque visits and one-on-one meetings, have become so pervasive in certain cities that some young Muslim Americans refer to the FBI as the “Friendly Brotherhood of Islam.”

Agents don’t apologize for their tactics and say they have a duty to pursue any possible U.S. ties to terrorists. As of June, more than 260 defendants had been convicted of terrorism-related charges in the U.S. and trials were pending for 150 more, says the Justice Department. Muslims and Arabs hold out a small but persistent hope that if FBI agents trusted them more, other Americans would, too. In Florida, FBI agents have been assigned as contacts for imams at almost 40 mosques. ”We saw this as an opportunity to provide consistency for them,” said the FBI’s Stu McArthur in Miami. “If one of the imams thinks that radical elements are infiltrating the mosque or trying to recruit people, he would know someone who could help him.”


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