Lawmakers are going after the FBI after it was revealed this week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been instructing agents that the religion of Islam was on par with a cult and that devout Muslims are likely to turn to terrorism.
In a report earlier in the week from Wired.com’s Danger Room, it was exposed that counterterrorism training materials circulated throughout the FBI manufactured “mainstream” American Muslims as terrorist sympathizers and that their prophet, Mohammed, was a “cult leader.” The FBI was quick to denounce the findings, claiming them archaic; but Danger Room has published the papers on the Web, showcasing that the materials were revised as recently as March of this year.
Now some top senators in Congress are saying the FBI needs to wise-up and change their ways. Among those politicians is Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Ct).
“There is no room in America for the lies, propagated by al-Qaeda, that the US is at war with Islam, or the lie propagated by others that all Muslims support terrorism,” Sen. Lieberman tells Danger Room. In addition to previously running for the presidency of the United States, Lieberman currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Lieberman reveals that terrorism is indeed a problem Americans are still posed with, but linking all Muslims to terrorism is not something the FBI needs to do to increase their efforts in the War on Terror.
“Proper training about violent Islamist extremism is absolutely essential for our law enforcement personnel in order to empower them to identify and understand this grave threat, and then protect the American people from it,” Lieberman says. “Part of this training must be an understanding of the clear and profound difference between Islamist extremism, which is a totalitarian political ideology that is at war with us, and Islam, which is a religion practiced by more than a billion people around the world, including millions of law-abiding and loyal Americans.”
The FBI, however, has not been so understanding. In their training manuals, the Bureau warns agents that Muslim law justifies “any war against non-believers” and that the followers of Islam should pose a threat to America, even those that are “main stream” [sic].
Sen. Ron Wyden adds to Danger Room that “Patriotic Muslim Americans can be one of our nation’s best weapons against radical Islamic terrorists.” Also a member of the House intelligence committee, Wyden continues, “Anyone who stigmatizes the entire Muslim American community will miss out on opportunities to work in partnership with that community to identify and take action against emerging terrorist threats before they can do harm to our country.”
Perpetuation the misconception that all Muslims are terrorists, regardless of if they appear to be on the “fringe,” as the FBI says, only plays into al-Qaeda’s plan. Allowing actual terrorists to see proof that Americans do have such extreme and bigoted views can only add fuel to a fire that has continued to burn ten years after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Outside of the FBI, similar sentiments are being installed in other agencies. Both the CIA and New York Police Department have been under fire as of late after The Associated Press revealed that an operative from the Central Intelligence Agency has been instructing officers on the NYPD on how to thwart terrorism by sending undercover agents into mosques, community centers and coffee shops in Muslim-majority neighborhoods. The AP continues to publish investigations into the so-called “Demographics Unit” of the NYPD as more and more is unraveled about spy operations conducted in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and abroad.
Earlier this month, Imam Abdu Ali Muse of the Masjid al-Islam mosque in Washington DC told RT that islamophobia is more mainstream than ever and said that there is a state of fear existing in the Muslim community.
“It’s worse than McCarthyism. More like Nazism,” he said.