FBI Issues Statement Denying Surveillance of Muslim Student Groups

Los Angeles, CA: The Muslim Public Affairs Council June 20 commended the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI and Assistant Director Stephen Tidwell for issuing a statement which clarifies its relationship with the Southern California Muslim community. The statement comes two weeks after a news report which quoted an FBI agent as stating that Muslim student groups on college campuses were the subject of ongoing surveillance and monitoring.
"The FBI does not monitor student groups at educational institutions, including Muslim student groups at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) or the University of Southern California (USC)," according to the statement. "In fact, Muslim student groups and the FBI are currently working together in building a sound and trusting relationship. In addition to the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) meetings, the FBI will meet with campus administrators and begin attending campus forums to address students' issues and concerns."
SEE: FBI Statement in Response to Recent Concerns of the Muslim Community About Monitoring Muslim Student Groups (FBI, 6/16/06)
Providing effective outreach and education from the American Muslim mainstream is crucial in order to develop effective counter-terrorism policy. MPAC is committed to fostering a healthy partnership between law enforcement and the Muslim community in order to help prevent any terrorist incidents and to diminish any sequent backlash.
"When stories erupt about civil rights, we lose support for the partnership from the Muslim community," said Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati. "We will continue to demand transparency through whatever mechanism, preferably within the law enforcement, to keep the partnership alive and to prevent disengagement."
Facilitated by MPAC, the Youth Advisory Committee was established in April 2006 to bring together Muslim student leaders with FBI agents in order to build a partnership based on mutual respect and trust. This open dialogue creates an opportunity to address community concerns and also educate FBI personnel about Islam and Muslims.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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