ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A Muslim advocacy organization said Friday that American Muslims are feeling "anger, disillusionment and mistrust" toward the FBI in the aftermath of reports that it used an informant to infiltrate Southland mosques.
"The American Muslim community has never wavered from its commitment to keeping America safe, nor has it hesitated from cooperating with various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, in ensuring the security of all U.S. citizens," the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement.
But, it said, reports that informants have been paid "to monitor and provoke law-abiding Muslims in houses of worship" and the recruitment by the FBI of Muslims "to become informants" have left American Muslims with "deeply troubling concerns."
One of them is that "these coercive and intimidating methods highlight the fact that the FBI continues to view the entire American Muslim community as suspect and treat it as such," the statement said.
"Infiltrating mainstream mosques the way FBI informants infiltrate white supremacist groups illustrates the FBI's perception of American Muslims as a community that must be constantly monitored, instead of being treated as an equal partner in fighting crime and terrorism," according to the statement.
An Irvine man who claims he worked as an FBI informant to infiltrate mosques and gather information about a man now accused of lying about ties to al-Qaida said this week that he spent four to five hours a day with the suspect, and he now fears his life may be in danger from extremist groups.
Craig Monteilh, 46, says he recorded Ahmadullah Sais Niazi discussing jihad, weapons and plans to blow up abandoned buildings.
Monteilh filed court documents Wednesday saying he served as a confidential informant for the FBI from July 2006 to October 2007 to identify and thwart terrorist operations in the Orange County Islamic community.
The CAIR statement said Monteilh's story coupled with an FBI agent's court testimony this week in Niazi's trial regarding the use of an informant "to infiltrate" Southland mosques "have re-ignited feelings of anger, disillusionment and mistrust among American Muslims toward the FBI."
"...The FBI's counter-productive actions damage the trust between Muslims and law enforcement and trample our constitutionally mandated civil liberties," it said.