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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 04, 2003

Counting Mosques

Writer Daniel Pipes argues in favor of the FBI policy of "counting mosques" as part of anti-terror campaign, while acknowledging that librerals will shout With Chunt.
Startling news came last week out of the FBI: The leadership had directed all of the bureau's 56 field offices to count mosques in their regions as part of waging the war on terror.

Newsweek, which broke this story, explained that the information on mosques would specifically help "set numerical goals for counter terrorism investigations and secret national-security wiretaps in each region." The New York Times acquired a closed-door statement by a senior bureau official confirming the mosque data would be used "to help establish a yardstick for the number of terrorism investigations and intelligence warrants" expected from field offices.

Reactions on the Left and among Islamists were predictably outraged. The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the mosque-counting as "tailor-made for a witch hunt." The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism expressed "deep concern" about fundamental constitutional protections being abridged. The Muslim Public Affairs Council deemed it going "beyond the pale of legitimate law enforcement."

But the most colorful response came from the American Muslim Council, a Washington-based militant Islamic group. AMC characterized mosque-counting as an act of "political repression" by the U.S. government and wrote a letter to the United Nations pleading for relief from this and other "shameful and undemocratic practices."

Barraged with criticisms, the FBI dissimulated, pretending that the purpose of mosque-counting has nothing to do with preventing possible mosque-based terrorist actions but is intended to learn the "vulnerabilities" of those structures, the better to protect them from possible assault. Barraged with criticisms, the FBI dissimulated, pretending that the purpose of mosque-counting has nothing to do with preventing possible mosque-based terrorist actions but is intended to learn the "vulnerabilities" of those structures, the better to protect them from possible assault. [more]