The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is reacting to the arrest of a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard on charges of lying about his ties to terrorist groups on his citizenship and passport applications. An AP report describes the case as follows:
In the California case, information about the informant who spied on the Islamic Center of Irvine came out last week at a detention hearing for a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, an Afghan native and naturalized U.S. citizen named Ahmadullah Niazi. Niazi, 34, was arrested Feb. 20 on charges of lying about his ties to terrorist groups on his citizenship and passport applications. He will be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. FBI Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III testified at the hearing that an FBI informant infiltrated Niazi’s mosque and several others in Orange County and befriended Niazi. Ropel said the informant recorded Niazi on multiple occasions talking about blowing up buildings, acquiring weapons and sending money to the Afghan mujahadeen. Niazi has not been charged with terrorism and it’s not yet clear if the FBI was focused on anything beyond his activities. Neither the mosque nor any other of its members have been charged. A 46-year-old fitness instructor told The Associated Press last week he was the informant. Craig Monteilh of Irvine said Niazi talked about blowing up buildings and discussed sending Monteilh to a terrorist training camp in Yemen or Pakistan. Monteilh said his tenure as an informant ended after Niazi and other members of the Islamic Center of Irvine reported him to authorities. A Muslim advocacy group has demanded a federal investigation into whether Niazi was arrested because he refused to become an FBI informant after telling the agency about Monteilh.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has reacted by stating that the use of informants in mosques “stigmatizes” the mosques and erodes trust. According an article on the MPAC website:
Trust is the cornerstone of any partnership between law enforcement and communities. It can only be established and maintained through clear and open communication. Without this, trust is eroded and suspicions arise on all sides. This clearly does not serve anyone’s interests.Federal law enforcement cannot establish trust with American Muslim communities through meetings and townhall forums, while at the same time sending paid informants who instigate violent rhetoric in mosques. This mere act stigmatizes American mosques and casts a shadow of doubt and distrust between American Muslims and their neighbors. It has also led many mosques and community groups to reconsider their relationship with the FBI, including most recently the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. It is now up to the FBI and law enforcement agencies to re-engage with the Muslim American community, and re-build trust and respect. MPAC will continue to raise these community concerns with federal law enforcement officials in its efforts to help form policies that preserve civil liberties while also protecting our nation.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced that is planning to file a request for the U.S. Attorney General to launch an investigation into the FBI’s arrest:
On Tuesday, February 24, the Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) will host a news conference to announce the filing of a request for the U.S. Attorney General to launch an investigation into the FBI’s arrest last week of Ahmad Niazi. The news conference will immediately follow a court hearing Tuesday for Niazi in Santa Ana, Calif. Members of his family will take part in the news conference. Mr. Niazi is charged with perjury, naturalization fraud, misuse of a passport obtained by fraud, and making a false statement to a federal agency. He claims the charges are in retaliation for his refusal to become an FBI informant. Mr. Niazi previously reported to CAIR-LA and other community members that, during a raid of a friend’s house, an FBI agent urged Mr. Niazi to work with the agency, saying that if he refused to cooperate his life would be made a “living hell.”
MPAC was established in the mid 1980’s by individuals whose backgrounds are likely rooted in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and since its inception has acted in concert with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The organization, like other U.S. Brotherhood organizations, has a long history of fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and support for terrorism. The organization has long enjoyed generally good relations with the U.S. government and functions essentially as the political lobbying arm of the U.S. Brotherhood.
Documents released in the Holy Land Trial have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the U.S. Brotherhood. Investigative research posted on GMBDW had determined that CAIR had it origins in the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and is an integral part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood with a long history of support for fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and terrorism. Numerous earlier posts have reported on the relationship between the FBI and CAIR which appears to have been terminated by the FBI
Both organizations have long histories of opposing almost all elements of U.S. counterterrorism strategy. CAIR in particular has defended numerous individuals accused and/or convicted of terrorism offenses and a number of CAIR employees have also been convicted of terrorism.