Bigots conceal their religious prejudice under the guise that they want to keep us safe and secure.
In fact, they compromise individual freedom, violate our constitution’s promise, foster more prosecutorial misconduct, and, prove what they’re really about is religious discrimination.
We’re talking about the reckless political trash talk demanding that our government surveil every Muslim Mosque in America.
America says it’s tolerant of all religions, and bound by our constitution to make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, but our historic record reveals a different story.
Starting in colonial times, America was brutal to Roman Catholics. Catholics were ridiculed for their beliefs, their churches burned, believers killed. A groundless fear that the papacy might direct our government almost kept that “upstart from Massachusetts,” Senator John F. Kennedy, from becoming President, even though our Constitution says – “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office…”
We decry anti-Semitism abroad but Jews in America have been denied access to jobs, clubs, colleges, and neighborhoods.
We are now focusing on the most recent assault by wrong-headed candidates and elected officials demanding a nationwide surveillance net cast over every mosque as a suspect harbor for Islamist terrorists.
No matter that President John Adams, in the Treaty with the Barbary States in 1797, assured Tripoli that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” and, further, that the United States had no “enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims].”
But does that mean we may not investigate a place of worship?
Not so but the devil is in the details as to how and when.
As a New York federal prosecutor, I tried a case with a pay-off to the French connection for a heroin shipment, the parking ticket for a heroin laden car for the “buy money,” passed in the first pew at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
We didn’t know about it beforehand and no decent investigator was going to keep St. Patrick’s under surveillance ever after on the highly unlikely possibility it would ever happen again.
Compare how NSA identified Muslim “suspects” from 2002 to 2008.
The Snowden materials released to the Guardian in 2014 disclosed that NSA’s surveillance “training” materials referred to any individual “suspect” as “Mohammed Raghead,” quite revealing, and a “suspect” was anyone, (a), of Muslim faith, and, (b), politically active, despite the First Amendment prohibitions against the government “chilling” either speech or religion.
The real rub is that this “surveillance” required no suspicion of actual terrorism.
Worse, when our federal law enforcement finds no crime, they may create it, with promised grandiose rewards for doing things the FBI dictates be done.
Shahed Hussain, actually an FBI informant, trolled mosques, at the FBI’s direction, thus attended one mosque in Newburgh, New York. Shahed convinced four locals at that mosque, themselves quite poor, even desperate, to join Shahed’s plot to shoot stinger missiles at military planes and to blow up two Riverdale synagogues, promising them $250,000, getaway holidays and cars. The sentencing federal judge said, “I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition.” The court blasted the government’s conduct but did nothing to sanction it.
This was not the only case of crime created by the government.
The Human Rights Watch issued a 214 page report titled, “Illusion of Justice,” critical of the fact that “many of these people [prosecuted by federal agents] would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”
There are Muslims charging in a pending court case that they were put on the no-fly list as a reprisal for refusing to pose as Islamist extremists in undercover investigations.
The “Just Us” Department relies for its enforcement on the warrantless wiretapping of its “suspects.”
We urge right-thinking Americans to forego the “Big Brother” proposal to monitor all mosques.
We urge instead a return to sound investigative techniques, requiring “reasonable suspicion” of crime, and “probable cause” of crime – the Fourth Amendment pre-requisite – for any “search” or “seizure.”
Our government has to stop badgering innocents to “create” crimes.
What investigator tells the world where he’s investigating, expecting afterwards to find any crime?
If every Muslim is a “suspect” if they use robust speech, if they protest, we haven’t refined our investigative parameters narrow enough, we are necessarily diverting limited investigative resources, and, we are confirming for one and all, beyond any shadow of doubt, that what we’re really about is discrimination against Muslims.