American Muslims Cooperation With Law Enforcement
by Sheila Musaji
During Rep. Peter King’s hearings, one of the false memes about American Muslims that was consistently raised in the Islamophobic press was that Muslims have failed to come forward and tell law enforcement about criminal plans, and that in fact American Muslims are uncooperative with law enforcement.
I wrote an article Answers to Peter King’s Claims About the American Muslim Community which discussed this false claim as well as many others. Here is what I said at that time:
Actually many individuals who have been arrested for terrorist plots and activities were turned in by members of the Muslim community. These include: Craig Monteilh, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, Times Square bomber, the Oregon jihadist, Lackawanna six, Paintball 11 in VA, Matin Siraj plot in NY , Daniel Boyd in NC, 5 Muslim men who went to Pakistan from VA, Farooque Ahmed subway plotter. Muslims have also helped by infiltrating al Qaeda. There are many American Muslims promoting non-violent solutions including people like John Muhammed Butt working with Taliban.
Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca said that there is nothing to support King’s view that American Muslims are being uncooperative with law enforcement. “If he has evidence of non-cooperation, he should bring it forward.”
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, stated before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee: “And every opportunity I have, I re-affirm the fact that 99.9 percent of Muslim-Americans or Sikh-Americans, Arab-Americans are every bit as patriotic as anybody else in this room, and that many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said “The Muslim community…have contributed significantly to the resolution of many things that we have resolved over the course last 12 to 18 months….Tips that we have received, information that has been shared has been critical to our efforts to disrupt plots that otherwise might have occurred.” He also said: “Members of the American Muslim community have been—and continue to be—strong partners in fighting this emerging threat [of
terrorism]. They have regularly denounced terrorist acts and those who carry them out. And they have provided critical assistance to law enforcement in helping to disrupt terrorist plots and combat radicalization.”
Perhaps Rep. King is unaware of the FBI award given to Imam Yahya Hendi for community leadership, and perhaps he questions the State Dept. sending Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on a speaking tour to improve relations between the U.S. and Muslim countries? Many Muslim Imams, leaders and organizations have received awards and acknowledgements.
Perhaps Rep. King is unaware that The American Muslim along with a number of other Muslim efforts was mentioned in The Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University’s report on internet-facilitated radicalization entitled: “NETworked Radicalization: A Counter-Strategy”.
Perhaps Rep. King and all the others who continue to make this claim are unaware of the findings of MPAC’s report [url=Post-9/11 Terrorism Database: A tracking of plots by Muslim and non-Muslim violent extremists against the United States[/url]. Here is a summary of the key findings:
•Since 9/11, only 44% of suspects publicly associated with terrorism were prosecuted under a terrorism or national security statute.
•There were 105 total plots by U.S.-originated non-Muslim perpetrators against the United States since 9/11. In comparison, there have been 48 total plots by U.S. and foreign-originated Muslim perpetrators since 9/11.
•There have been least 5 incidents of non-Muslim violent extremists possessing or attempting to possess Biological, Chemical or Radiological weapons. One of those incidents occurred since Obama’s election. No such cases involving Muslim violent extremists have been reported since 9/11.
•Evidence clearly indicates a general rise in violent extremism across ideologies. Using Obama’s election as our measurement, since November 4, 2008 there have been 60 plots by domestic non-Muslim violent extremists. By comparison, there have been 25 plots by Muslim U.S. and foreign-originated extremists. Each of these categories constitutes about 50% or more of all violent extremist cases in each dataset since 9/11.
•Yet, there is little evidence of rising ideological extremism among Muslim Americans. We use Obama’s election as the start of a timeline for measurement. We found 15 out of the 21 post-election plots (71.4%) involved Muslim Americans engaging in ideological extremism before the vote. Of these 21, 11 (52%) were engaged in ideological extremism since at least 2007. Only 2 out of 21 cases (9.5%) are individuals involved in extremist activities after Obama’s election. 4 cases (19%) remain unknown.
•Muslim communities helped U.S. security officials to prevent nearly 2 out of every 5 Al-Qaeda plots threatening the United States since 9/11. Muslim communities helped law enforcement prevent nearly two-thirds of all Al-Qaeda related plots threatening the U.S. since the December 2009 “underwear bomber” plot. This is an important counter-trend to the recent spike of arrests. It also highlights the importance of partnering with society through good relations and community oriented policing.
And, now we have the most recent case of the arrest of a terrorism suspect in Florida. Sami Osmakac was arrested on January 9, 2012 on charges that he was planning an attack using guns and bombs on multiple locations. As in numerous previous cases, the suspect, Sami Osmakac, was apprehended following a tip from local Muslims. See MPAC’s statement on this arrest here.
Hassan Shibley of CAIR Tampa said
Sami Osmakac a “mentally disturbed” individual, and said he had been banned from two mosques in the past two years. ... “The reason he was banned from several mosques is that people were concerned with his extremist views. He was against the Muslim community as a whole. He was against organizations like CAIR,” Shibly said. Shibly said Osmakac was eventually reported to law enforcement, and representatives from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office said those reports were “significant” in arresting him. ... Shibly said community members reported Osmakac because they believed he was unstable. “I think the fear at the point is that he was just mentally disturbed…I think that community members hoped that by reporting him, he could get the proper assistance,” Shibly explained. “Was he just a disturbed individual edged on by an informant, in which case we are concerned. Or did he truly pose a threat? In that case, we are very grateful and I think we have to draw that fine balance in this situation,” Shibly said.