Time for FBI to stop spying on American Muslims

From the Blog

by Wajahat Ali for the Guardian

Elaborate sting operations not only risk entrapment of bogus terrorist suspects, but worse, they wreck vital community trust

Mosque attack FBI sting operation: Mohamed Osman Mohamud
Retired teacher Larry Pickard, left, shakes hands with Mohsin Saeed on 30 November 2010, at the Salman Alfarisi Islamic centre in Corvallis, Oregon. Pickard was among many non-Muslims who offered help and sympathy after a fire was set at the mosque in apparent retribution for the attempt to set off a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland allegedly by Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was arrested in an FBI sting operation. He has pleaded not guilty. Photograph: AP Photo/Jeff Barnard

The recent arrest of the potential Christmas tree bomber is reflective of the FBI’s myopic strategy of using glitzy, expensive sting operations and dubious confidential informants to further erode Muslim American relations instead of concentrating on effective partnerships to combat radicalisation. The FBI is promoting the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali-born teenager accused of attempting to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, as a triumph of effective law enforcement. Instead, the operation reeks of gratuitous self-adulation, requiring 6 months of time and precious expenditures to “uncover” a dummy terrorist plot wholly scripted and concocted by the FBI in the first place.

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