Somali residents of St. Louis are accusing the FBI of strong-arm tactics in interrogating them as suispects in terrorism cases, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Critics say the FBI’s methods hinder efforts by law enforcement agencies to make inroads among Somalis and Muslims. “We are disappointed they acted so rashly and harshly in this situation,” said John Chasnoff of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. “These are people who are haven’t been linked to any terrorist activity.”
A spokeswoman for the St. Louis FBI office acknowledged that outreach to Somalis “is not at the level we would like it to be.” Certain communities, including people from Somalia, may have a distrust of law enforcement because of their negative experiences in their homeland, spokeswoman Rebecca Wu said. On Nov. 1, authorities arrested Mohamud Abdi Yusuf, who they allege collected and wired about $6,000 to al-Shabaab, an Islamist group that is trying to overthrow the shaky government of his impoverished east African country. The U.S. government declared al-Shabaab a terrorist organization in 2008.