FBI sued over targeting Muslims for their religious beliefs

Thursday, February 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES - The First Amendment rights of hundreds of Muslims were violated when FBI agents directed an informant to infiltrate mosques in California, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, claims that rather than follow a specific lead or individual who was under investigation, the paid informant -Keith Monteilh- instead floated between different groups of people, gathering information on their religious, political and personal background during an extended period of time.

It also contends that Monteilh’s FBI handlers told him to collect e-mail address, phone numbers, and other pertinent information about Muslims, and “explicitly told Monteilh that Islam was a threat to America’s national security”.

“The FBI sent an informant into one of the most diverse areas in the country, simply because they’re Muslim,” the Christian Science Monitor quoted Peter Bibring, an attorney with the ACLU, as saying.

“The entire community observed (the informant) in a 14 month period, and his activity didn’t reflect someone targeting individuals,” he added.

Legal experts say that the lawsuit could succeed if the ACLU proves that the FBI targeted Muslims for their religious beliefs. (ANI)

Filed under: Lawsuit, World

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