The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says that Muslims in California, Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, and other states are being pressured by FBI agents to spy on other Muslims in mosques, restaurants, and hookah lounges.
"These visits aren't based on people being suspected of doing anything wrong," Jennifer Wicks, an attorney and head of CAIR's civil rights department, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's because this is a Muslim community. That's why people are being targeted."
Orlando attorney Hassan Shibly is representing 33 clients who say that this year, FBI agents have pressured them to spy on their fellow Muslims or face jail time. "The FBI thinks it can get away with bending the law," he said. "Many Muslims come from Third World countries where such practices are common fare for the secret police. But in the U.S. you don't expect such blackmail, with threats of deportation or worse."
CAIR is asking imams and community leaders to seek legal counsel if approached by the FBI and asked to share information on their religious beliefs and practices. The Times says that several Muslim leaders would not comment, stating they were afraid they would become government targets. In an email, FBI spokesman Paul Bresso said, "We value our partnerships with the Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities as they are partners in our efforts to stem crime, violence, and civil rights violations."