Muslim group seeks FBI rules review

Sept. 30, 2009 at 6:34 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A U.S. Muslim advocacy group has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to address concerns about FBI investigation guidelines possibly violating civil rights.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued its call to Holder after the release of a redacted version of the FBI's Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide that obscured a section on use of confidential informants in houses of worship such as mosques, the organization said Wednesday in a news release. The guidelines were instituted in the latter part of the George W. Bush administration.

The FBI's use of informants in mosques has been of particular concern to the American Muslim community and caused national Islamic groups to consider shelving ties with the FBI this year, the council said.

"These newly revealed guidelines for FBI investigations only serve to heighten concerns that the Bush administration put in place policies that will inevitably lead to violations of the Constitution and of the right of all Americans to practice their faith without fear of government intrusion or intimidation," Nadhira al-Khalili, the group's national legal counsel, said. "The Obama administration should review these guidelines and bring them into conformity with the Constitution and with the cherished American values of religious freedom and respect for civil liberties."

Other civil liberties organizations have expressed concerns about the FBI's vague rules for initiating an initial investigation that does not require "any particular factual predication" and the possible use of race and ethnicity as factors when opening an investigation, al-Khalili said.

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