Final Project: Discrimination Against Muslims in America Today

Posted on May 25, 2014 by

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Introduction

Today in the United States many Muslims live amongst us.  Many people think that just because someone is a Muslim or has the look of a stereotypical Muslim they must either be a terrorist, have terrorist ties, or know other people within our country that are terrorists.  Our government also feels like this must be true, and when an American Muslims turns down informing to the FBI they are discriminated against by being put on no fly lists, threatened that themselves or their families will be hurt, and have been spying on them for years.

Creating Fear Among American Muslims

The FBI, and most recently the New York Police Department and CIA, have been linked to various acts of discrimination against American Muslims. In a quote form The FBI Creating Climate of Fear For American Muslims,  “following 9/11 the FBI and Justice Department indicated that they were operating under a new paradigm of preventing terrorist attacks before they occurred.” The NYPD set up a special task force that would map communities inside and outside the city, logging where customers in traditional Islamic clothes ate meals and documenting their lunch-counter conversations, their places of worship, and businesses they frequent, based on nothing but their religious beliefs and associations. In Matt Apuzzo and Joseph Goldstein article New York Drops Unit That Spied on Muslims they say, “The Demographics Unit was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency officer Lawrence Sanchez, who helped establish it in 2003 while working at the Police Department and while he was still on the spy agency’s payroll.”

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Clearly our country was worried after the incident that was 9/11 and decided they needed to start spying on Muslim communities specifically in New York City.  This unit had been still up and running until April of this year.  It has since been shut down but NYPD still continues to use informants, a wide network of NYPD informants have infiltrated community organizations, mosques, restaurants, and bookstores, designation of entire mosques as “terrorism enterprises”, discriminatory use of surveillance cameras around the city, discriminatory surveillance by other units within the NYPD, as reported in Nao Yachot article NYPD Shutters Muslim Mapping Unit – But What About Other Tactics?  Here is an account of what happened to one man, Egyptian-born Moro Said pulled over one night because, he says, a woman looked like she needed directions. She turned out to be an undercover officer, and hauled him in on a prostitution-related charge. Then cops pressured him to start informing them on what he sees and hears in his mosque or in cafes.\

The FBI also is now being accused of putting Muslims who refused to inform on their communities on the no fly list.  The no fly list was created after the attacks on the pentagon and world trade center on September 11, 2001.  The list prevents people from flying into and out of the United States.  Over the years the list has fluctuated with the number of names on it but in recent years the list has been growing.  Four Muslim American me are filling a lawsuit against the FBI, claiming they were put on the list without justification and without due process.  They are seeking a new process of how one is placed on this list and obviously they want to be removed from it.  Here is a quote from the Democracy Now news cast about the lawsuit, “They also believe that their names continue to be listed because they would not agree to become FBI informants and spy on their local communities. “It’s very frustrating, you feel helpless,” Shinwari says. “No one will tell you how you can get off of it, how you got on it. It has a profound impact on people’s lives.”  Muhammad Tanvir claims he was put on the list “after he declined multiple requests by FBI agents to serve as an informant in his Muslim community.”  He was then told the only way he could get off the list was if he would inform to the FBI.

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Not only has the FBI put Muslims that wont inform on the no fly list one man was told he might get hit by a car if he doesn’t inform to them.  Naji Mansour, who is an American but was living in Kenya, After he refused to become an informant, he saw his life, and his family’s life, turned upside down. He was detained, repeatedly interrogated and ultimately forced into exile in Sudan, unable to see his children for years. His story was told in the magazine Mother Jones. According to Nick Baumann, the author of the article, Mansour’s experience is just one in a string of Muslim Americans detained for what he says are “often tangential” ties to terrorism. Mansour was detained while visiting Juba, which, according to Baumann, is how the FBI handles such cases: Suspects are detained in other countries so the government can, as Mansour says, “bypass their constitutional rights.”  After being exiled Mansour began recording his conversations with the FBI and in one of those conversations an FBI Agent informs him “he might get hit by a car”.

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This is what has become of America today, a bunch of paranoid racists.  Who see a Muslim living in America and automatically assume that they are either a terrorist or can provide information to the government about terrorists.  It is unfair to people like the ones who have been put on the no fly list or Naji Mansour who has been taken away from his life, wife, and kids.  Its sad that institutions of power like the FBI, CIA, and NYPD have to use such scare tactics to try to protect our country.  Maybe if these organizations spent less time trying intimate innocent people and actually spend time hunting real threats they would do a better job of keeping our country safe.

Sources:

 

1) Yachot, Noa. “NYPD Shutters Muslim Mapping Unit – But What About Other Tactics?” American Civil Liberties Union. N.p., 15 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

2) DeMaria, Meghan. “The FBI Reportedly Told a Muslim American He ‘might Get Hit by a Car'” The Week. N.p., 2 May 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

3) Alman, Ashley. “Lawsuit Accuses FBI Of Using No-Fly List To Get American Muslims To Become Informants.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

4) “FBI Instilling Fear in American Muslims.” PressTV. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014.

5) Apuzzo, Matt, and Joseph Goldstein. “New York Drops Unit That Spied on Muslims.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

6) “NYPD’s New Spying Outrage: Innocent Muslims Treated Worse than Guilty Bankers.” Saloncom RSS. N.p., 13 May 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

7) “Lawsuit: FBI Used No-fly List to ‘punish’ Muslims Who Refused to Be Informants.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 23 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

8) Cushing, Tim. “Former FBI Agent: NYPD’s Muslim-Spying Demographics Unit Was Almost Completely Useless | Techdirt.” Techdirt. N.p., 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

9) “Muslim Americans Who Claim FBI Used No-Fly List to Coerce Them Into Becoming Informants File Lawsuit.” Democracy Now! N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014.

10) “”You Might Get Hit by a Car”: On Secret Tape, FBI Threatens American Muslim Refusing to Be Informant.” Democracy Now! N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014.

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