America’s Muslim community rocked by ‘spying’ incidents calls for action

A Muslim-American advocacy group says it has uncovered a ‘mole’ leading one of its state branches as well as a ‘spy’ at a US mosque who passed information to an ‘anti-Muslim group “.

The two shocking incidents were reported earlier this month by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), sparking new concerns about espionage within the American Muslim community.

“Community members were shocked and saddened to learn of this specific situation, but many people were also not surprised that an anti-Muslim hate group was targeting CAIR and spying in this way,” said Whitney Siddiqi, director of community affairs at CAIR-Ohio, was quoted as saying by Aljazeera.

CAIR’s Ohio chapter said Dec. 15 that it had fired Romin Iqbal, its executive and legal director in the Columbus-Cincinnati area, for “gross ethical and professional violations.”

He was accused by the organization of passing confidential information to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), a group which, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that tracks down hate groups in the United States, was founded by an “anti-Muslim activist”.

A forensic investigation by a third-party expert found “conclusive evidence that Iqbal had spent years secretly recording CAIR network meetings and passing confidential information regarding CAIR’s national advocacy work to an anti-hate group. known Muslim,” CAIR-Ohio said at the time.

In a separate incident, the CAIR office in Washington on December 21 said a volunteer at an American mosque revealed that he had been paid by Steven Emerson, executive director of the IPT, to release information about the community.

“Community Update: A second IPT ‘spy’ voluntarily came forward, confessed and agreed to cooperate with us. He was not part of CAIR. He was an active volunteer at a major mosque who was invited to national community meetings and events,” CAIR said in a Twitter thread last week.

Bismillah. Community Update: A second IPT “spy” has voluntarily come forward, confessed and agreed to cooperate with us. He was not part of CAIR. He was an active volunteer at a large mosque who was invited to national community meetings and events. Details in the thread… 1/8

— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) December 21, 2021

“We are collecting and verifying additional information from this individual. We have also directly alerted Muslim leaders and organizations he has targeted. We will publicly release his name and additional information after we complete this process, God willing,” he added.

Siddiqi was quoted as saying by Aljazeera that one of the purposes of spying is to create ‘fear and mistrust in our own communities’, while adding that CAIR is moving forward ‘with transparency’ in its fight against the threat. of Islamophobia.

American Muslims have faced increased surveillance and discriminatory policies since the events of 9/11, with hate crimes and espionage activities having seen an alarming increase in recent years, primarily with the active involvement of law enforcement authorities. law enforcement.

Between 2002 and 2014, the New York City Police Department assigned an entire unit to spy on the city’s Muslim population.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), police mapped where Muslim New Yorkers lived, recruited informants from the Muslim community and placed mosques under surveillance.

The trend has only accelerated under the current US administration led by Joe Biden.

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