L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Local Muslims outraged by alleged FBI surveillance, lawyers claim

An alleged FBI operation that conducted illegal surveillance of local mosques caused outrage in the Muslim community and prompted a class-action lawsuit against the agency, lawyers said Wednesday.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of three plaintiffs accuses the FBI and seven employees of infringing on the 1st and 4th amendment rights of hundreds of members of the local Muslim community by using paid informants to infiltrate mosques and record interactions with its members.

It was filed by the ACLU and the Council on Islamic American Relations, which held a news conference Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles.

The informant, Craig Monteilh of Irvine, went public in 2009 with his alleged work for the FBI. He has said he was recruited shortly after his release from prison for forgery to work on drug trafficking cases and was subsequently tasked in 2006 with rooting out potential terrorists in the Muslim community.

One of the plaintiffs, Ali Malik, 26, said he initially befriended Monteilh in 2006 shortly after the man converted to Islam at his mosque, the Islamic Center of Irvine.

Malik said he was asked to guide Monteilh in the basic tenets of his new faith but became increasingly uncomfortable as Monteilh's behavior and questions became increasingly bizarre -- at one point asking how the imam would react to someone interested in becoming a suicide bomber in the name of Islam.

"I told him it was in no way justified in the religion and the imam would think he was crazy," Malik said. "Then he began acting really weird and I started avoiding him at all costs."

Lawyers for the ACLU and the Islamic council's Los Angeles branch said the alleged FBI operation has prompted anger and fear in Muslim community and damaged trust in the government.

"Some members have stopped going to mosques because they feel like they can be labeled as extremists simply by going," said council lawyer Ameena Mirza Qazi. "That feeling of community is gone."

Malik, who is a U.S. citizen, said he has been contacted several times by the FBI since his interactions with Montheilh and has sharply curtailed his visits to his mosque out of unease.

"This has affected how the mosque welcomes new members," he said. "Every new person, people think 'Could he be with the FBI?' "

"You want to develop trust with the government and they have soured that trust," he said. "It's going to take a long time to rebuild that relationship."

RELATED:

Lawsuit contends FBI violated rights of hundreds of Muslim Americans

-- Shan Li

 
Comments () | Archives (13)

That's foolish that they claim it affects the way they accept new members. Who gives a crap if the new member is actually an FBI informant. Are they doing something illegal? If not I see no reason why they should worry over whether they are an informant or not.

This story makes no sense, it states that the FBI conducted "illegal surveillance" of local mosques...

How is the determination made that the surveillance was illegal?

If it's lawyers and the ACLU that say it's illegal, then for sure this whole suit is bogus

lawyers and the ACLU are the biggest liars on planet earth

damaged trust in the government ??????? HA HA HA I need a goo laugh today!!!


He has said he was recruited shortly after his release from prison for forgery to work on drug trafficking cases and was subsequently tasked in 2006 with rooting out potential terrorists in the Muslim community.

The FBI hires cons? Oh WAIT I forgot the FBI is nothing BUT a bunch on con artists.

I fail to say the mention of any illegal doings here, but seeing as how the aclu and lawyers are involved now.....

I'm a Catholic. If the FBI knew that a bunch of Catholics were scheming to overthrow our Government, and that the conspirators were meeting at my church, I'd have no problem with them coming into the church to look around, provided they did it in a respectful fashion. I'd have even less than no problem if the parish priests were in on the conspiracy.

Even in the absence of same, I'd still have no problem; perhaps the non-Catholic FBI agents might even learn a thing or two about how we Catholics think about Jesus.

But when a group claims that the potential presence of members of law enforcement impinge upon their religious practices, then I'd say their religious practices need serious impinging upon.

Looks like the mosque/muslims have something to hide, otherwise invite anyone to learn about their religion.

Local Muslims outraged by alleged FBI surveillance, lawyers claim
*******************

When AREN'T Muslims "outraged"?

They need to surveil some supposedly "Christian" places of worship as well.

After all the biggest terrorist attack on this country befor 9/11 was carried out by a right wing Christianist by the name of Tim McVeigh.

I could care less. As long as they are not infringing on my practicing my religion, the mosques are open to all.

"Some members have stopped going to mosques because they feel like they can be labeled as extremists simply by going,"
what country do we live in? is it democracy??

@Stella Fox

We live in the best country in the world, The United States of America

So if you don't care to live here, you are free to leave, go anywhere else in the world you want.

You don't have to be a Muslim to know you cant trust the FBI or our Gov!

Hello!?!?!

The ACLU needs to be under surveillance!

Tim McVeigh was not a Christian! Christianity commands us to love our neighbors, not blow them up if we disagree with their religion/way of life! Also, should we be proactive or reactive regarding mass murder schemes? Are we willing to give up some freedom to accomplish this goal? If you're not a criminal, you have next to nothin to worry about-never have! The majority in this country want results!


Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: