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US Supreme Court hears complaint about FBI surveillance of a mosque

The US Supreme Court is considering a complaint filed by three Muslims who accuse the federal police of placing them under surveillance because of their religion after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

And 3 Californians confirmed that the FBI introduced an informant to a number of mosques between 2006 and 2007 to collect information on worshipers.

The man, who “had a criminal record, presented himself as a convert (Islam) and eager to discover his Algerian-French roots,” said ACLU attorney and supporter of the complainants, Ahilan Arulanantham.

The lawyer added that the Federal Police “required him to gather as much information as possible” about the worshipers, from “phone numbers to email addresses, and to secretly record conversations.”

He continued, “I asked him (the police) to incite violence, but he scared people so much with his comments about bombings using bombs, jihad and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they even reported him to the police.”

After this incident, the man decided, according to the lawyer, to reveal his actions as a paid FBI informant.

Subsequently, a mosque imam and two worshipers filed a complaint against the FBI for infringement of religious freedom and discrimination.

The US Department of Justice responded that it had started this surveillance program for objective reasons and not because these people were Muslims. In order to avoid giving details of the matter, the ministry invoked a state secrets law and asked the courts to dismiss the complaint.

Arulanantham noted that the issue is “extremely important” as it is about whether the government can block any complaint against its surveillance programs “even when there are largely justified accusations (…) of religious discrimination”.

The court is due to issue its decision by June 2022.

Source: AFP

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