Climate of Fear Spreads In California Mosques
The arrest of a man with suspected ties to al-Qaeda has many Muslims worried — about the FBI.
March 3, 2009 - 12:00 am
Charitable contributions at Southern California mosques are down by as much as 30% to 50% over the last few years. Blame the climate of fear.
That’s what Rafe Husain, a board member for the Islamic Center of Corona Norco, is doing. “People feel tense and uncomfortable,” Husain is quoted as saying in a recent Los Angeles Times article. Just another story about the woeful recession we currently find ourselves in? Mosque-goers are feeling jittery about their dwindling 401k accounts and have decided to fork over less money to the needy? Not quite.
What’s got some L.A.-area Muslims in a cold sweat is the recent revelation that the FBI planted a spy in Orange County mosques. Also troubling the Muslim community are the FBI’s interrogations about charitable contributions. Apparently the agents’ tactics are terrifying — at least to the people who find law enforcement officials “asking why were they donating and who was receiving their money” particularly fear-inducing.
Yet again we have a story about Muslims in America upset about efforts to root out the violent extremists in their midst. In fact, the FBI has a good reason to quiz Muslims about their donations. As the Times’ article points out, at least six major Muslim charity organizations have been shut down by the FBI since 9/11 because of involvement in terrorist financing. And just this past November, five former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, a Dallas-based charity, were convicted of providing more than $12 million to Hamas. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which calls itself the largest Muslim “civil rights” group in the country, was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. As a result, the FBI finally severed ties with CAIR after several unfruitful years of trying to work with the organization.
How are other Muslim organizations responding to the news of the FBI’s long overdue decision not to work with CAIR? The Times reports that the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group of Southern California mosques, protested by suspending its contacts with the FBI. Meanwhile, the senior advisor of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles says, “Unless the FBI’s style changes, the partnership with the Muslim community will not be fruitful.” In other words, the FBI could use another “sensitivity training” workshop from CAIR.