The FBI’s Muslim Outreach Follies
Revisiting the bureau's long history of failure.
May 9, 2012 - 12:00 am
When Time featured a profile on Mohamed Majid — imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center and current president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) — in November 2005, it highlighted Majid’s award from the FBI for “the imam’s cooperation in the war on terror,” claiming that “Majid regularly tips off the bureau.” But in a letter to the ADAMS Center community the day after the Time article appeared, Majid told his mosque members that he did no such thing (the letter has now been taken down from the ADAMS Center website, but is still available through Internet Archive).
Majid made clear that he never reported on anyone in the Muslim community, and his relationship with the FBI was one-sided, with the outreach meetings intended “solely to create avenues to work with law enforcement to preserve our civil liberties and civil rights.” It should come as no shock that Majid has recently met with top DOJ officials urging the criminalization of criticism of Islam and has been one of the most vocal cheerleaders for the FBI’s training “Islamophobia” purge, meeting at least twice with FBI Director Mueller on the topic.
Last September, Mohamed Elibiary was given the FBI’s Louis E. Peters Memorial Award in a ceremony at Quantico for his help with the FBI as a “deradicalizer” within the Muslim community. But the two cases that Elibiary trumpets — the case of five D.C. kids who went to Pakistan to fight U.S. troops, and that of “Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — are cases of his “deradicalization” subjects jumping headlong into terrorism, not away from it.
Questions were raised in October 2010 when Elibiary was appointed to the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council in light of his previous appearance at a Dallas conference honoring Ayatollah Khomeini, his defense of jihadist ideological godfather Sayyid Qutb, and his veiled threats against the life of Dallas Morning News editor Rod Dreher.
As I reported here exclusively at PJ Media back in October, Elibiary was caught downloading documents from a secure DHS server, which he then tried to market to a left-leaning publication claiming they represented a pattern of Islamophobia by the Texas Department of Public Safety. I subsequently reported that Elibiary’s non-profit organization had its tax exempt status revoked for failing to file the required IRS Form 990s. Elibiary continues to work with the FBI and serve on the DHS Advisory Council today, and he too has been an outspoken advocate of the ongoing “Islamophobia” purge. He was described in one article as the “FBI’s Key Muslim Ally” and complained that “bigoted briefings make my job harder.”
The FBI’s Muslim outreach hasn’t always gone as planned, such as during the March 2008 Community Relations Executive Seminar Training (CREST) program hosted by the Ohio chapter of CAIR. During the session tempers reportedly flared and the three FBI agents addressing the crowd barely escaped violence. More recently, an FBI outreach event in Seattle intended to improve communications and to build trust with the Muslim community grew heated when attendees complained that the FBI’s presentation focused too much on Islamic terrorism, and that a slide on state-sponsored terrorism showed a picture of former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
Unfortunately, the above are just a small selection from the FBI’s Muslim outreach follies. But they are representative of the ongoing failure by the FBI under Director Mueller’s tenure to properly vet their outreach partners.
With these episodes in mind, the concerns expressed by members of Congress — concerns regarding the FBI’s selection of outside SMEs chosen to purge their training programs and materials for supposed “Islamophobia,” and the FBI’s refusal to divulge the names of the SMEs claiming such information is classified — are reasonably rooted in the bureau’s long history of Muslim outreach failure.