A coalition of Muslim groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has threatened to suspend outreach efforts with the FBI following news of the agency planting informants in California mosques. That the man under investigation has been charged with a host of crimes and allegedly was recorded discussing jihad is apparently irrelevant. According to the coalition, the FBI has lost the trust of Muslims by seeding mosques with "agents provocateurs."
Putting aside the irony that CAIR might cut off the FBI after the FBI cut off CAIR, these events raise a vital question: to what degree have prominent Muslim groups assisted the FBI in keeping America safe? Indeed, history shows that CAIR has been less of a help than a hindrance.
A 2006 article by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha demonstrates how "CAIR encourages law enforcement in its work — so long as it does not involve counterterrorism." The authors quote the head of CAIR's New York office complaining that the FBI is "pursuing suspects much more actively than it is searching for community partners." Pipes and Chadha also recall CAIR's "Muslim community safety kit" from 2003, which advised Muslims: "You have no obligation to talk to the FBI. … You do not have to permit them to enter your home. … Always have an attorney present when answering questions." Then there is this nugget:
CAIR discourages Americans from improving their counterterrorism skills. Deedra Abboud, CAIR's Arizona director, approves of police learning the Arabic language if that lowers the chances of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings. "However, if they're learning it in order to better fight terrorism, that concerns me. Only because that assumes that the only fighting we have to do is among Arabic speakers."
In addition to highlighting how CAIR uses its "sensitivity training" to foster hesitancy among security officials, Frank Gaffney points out another damning example: a document in which a local CAIR leader "describes how she limited the scope of a meeting FBI agents had with a Muslim doctor. She coached the latter to withhold information from FBI agents: 'I advised him specifically not to address any questions relating to violence or terrorism.'"
Of course, CAIR's uncooperative history pales in comparison to that of Abdul Alim Musa, a prominent imam in Washington, DC. Known for praising terrorists during an interview with Sean Hannity, Musa is also famous for a 2007 sermon entitled "How to Punk the FBI," available online in separate parts, in which he refers to federal agents as "sissies" and instructs Muslims on "such 'counter-harassment techniques' as asking an interrogating agent if his mother bought him his shirt." Furthermore, he accuses the FBI of causing strokes to silence black Muslim leaders.
At the time of that sermon and up until very recently, Musa sat on the governing body of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) — one of the coalition members threatening to cut off contact with the FBI for allegedly disrespecting Muslims.
Frank Gaffney says it best: with friends like these, the FBI needs no enemies.