The American Muslim Taskforce (AMT), a coalition of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations, has issued a statement threatening to suspend outreach efforts with the FBI and claiming that “FBI abuses” are damaging U.S. interests internationally. The statement recounts recent events upon which its claims are based.” First, the statement described an undercover FBI informant used in Southern California mosques as an “agent provocateur. As an earlier post discussed, the FBI operation resulted in 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. Second, the AMT statement describes the recent FBI decision to disengage with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as based on “bias and faulty premises.” As another post discussed, the decision was made by the FBI on the basis of CAIR’s origins in the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S. Finally, the AMT statement a describes what it calls a “flourishing of anti-Muslim activity”:
The waning days of the previous administration witnessed a flourishing of anti-Muslim activity.There is even inter-agency information being disseminated that claims civil rights advocacy is part of a Muslim conspiracy to implement Shari’a law in order to destroy the United States. Recent government actions seemed to be based on this bizarre premise.
The statement labels the above FBI actions as “McCarthy-era” tactics which will hurt U.S. interests abroad:
These McCarthy-era tactics are detrimental to a free society. The credibility of all Muslim organizations who maintain ties to the FBI that do not react decisively is undermined in the eyes of the community. Our fear is that counter-intelligence programs are quelling lawful dissent. What is most frightening is that FBI abuses are no longer covert, and are slowly being integrated into the already expansive laws regulating law enforcement activity. Internationally, in light of President Obama’s initiative of dialogue with the Muslim world, such actions negatively impact U.S. interests.
The AMT statement ends with a threat to suspend all outreach activities with the FBU unless a series of demands are met:
If the FBI does not accord fair and equitable treatment to every American Muslim organization, including CAIR, ISNA and NAIT, then Muslim organizations, mosques and individuals will have no choice but to consider suspending all outreach activities with FBI offices, agents and other personnel. This possible suspension, of course, would in no way affect our unshakable duty to report crimes or threats of violence to our nation. We call on the FBI to reassess its positions on profiling and the use of informants as agents provocateurs within the Muslim communities. We further request objective evaluation of the sources of information and analysis utilized to formulate decisions. Notwithstanding such requests, we call on Muslim organizations and individuals to petition their elected representatives to hold hearings to address these grave matters of concern to the Muslim community. We fully expect that the President’s calls for inclusion will not be derailed by irresponsible elements in and outside of government fomenting anti-Muslim bias in this great nation.
It should be noted that according to its website, the AMT is made up of all the major U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including CAIR although notably, the statement was not signed by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) nor the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), two of the other best known AMT member organizations. The statement did, however, cite other statements by MPAC and also by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California which has close relationships with both MPAC and ISNA.
The AMT itself supplanted an earlier electoral coalition known as the American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC). According to its website, In 2004, national news described the founding of the AMT as follows:
The leading Muslim organizations have been so outraged over the USA Patriot Act (search) that they have banded together as the American Muslim Taskforce (search) to make civil rights their top issue in the presidential race.
AMT activities appear to be similar to those of the AMPCC although consistent with the groups ostensible civil-rights agenda, the organization has defended high-profile terror suspects such as Sami Al-Arian.