WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. Islamic group says it opposes asking for FBI protection in the wake of rising anti-Muslim rhetoric over a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero.
Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the Washington Post in an article published Wednesday that he doesn't think it is appropriate to station FBI agents in mosques.
"It has a chilling effect on a house of worship, and we would have concerns that agents would also be gathering information on ordinary worshipers," Hopper said.
The issue came up this week after a Nashville mosque invited two FBI agents to a prayer service to discuss a suspected arson at a planned mosque in nearby Murfreesboro.
Agha Saeed, national chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, said he welcomed the FBI's presence at the Saturday prayers.
"That's the FBI's job, to protect citizens," Saeed said.