Two news releases say an awful lot about why some national Muslim organizations may not be the best outlets for government "outreach" programs to the Muslim community.
The first is a release from the Council on Islamic Relations dated January 9, 2008 about a meeting between the CAIR-Orlando Civil Rights Staff and the FBI Orlando field office:
CAIR-Orlando staff relayed general concerns expressed by Central Florida Muslims and detailed the work of CAIR in promoting a better understanding of Islam, promoting justice, and empowering American Muslims.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Davis commended the work that CAIR-Orlando provides on behalf of the Central Florida Muslim community. He also communicated that building and maintaining a healthy partnership with the American Muslim community is essential to ensuring safety and security for all members of the community, including American-Muslims.
FBI Officals also reiterated that they are committed to vigorously investigating hate crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice. The agency recently announced a $10,000 reward for anyone with information which leads to a prosecution of those individuals who fired shots at the congregation and mosque of Melbourne. The agency also classified the crime as a hate crime.
Now, contrast all the happy talk about cooperation with CAIR's advice about what to do if a federal agent pays you a visit:
American Muslims support strong law enforcement. We also treasure civil rights. Your right to be politically active and to hold different beliefs/views is protected by the Constitution. If you are visited by the FBI, remember:
1) You do not have to talk to the FBI. You have no obligation to talk to the FBI, even if you are not a citizen. Never meet with them or answer any questions without an attorney present. Refusing to answer questions cannot be held against you. It does not imply that you have something to hide.
2) You do not have to permit them to enter your home or office. FBI agents must possess a search warrant in order to enter your house. If they say they have a warrant, demand to see it before allowing them to enter. Even if they have a warrant, you are under no obligation to answer questions.
3) Never lie or provide false information to the FBI. It is better to refuse to answer any questions. Lying to an FBI agent is a crime. Contact CAIR for advice.
Item 3 could not be clearer: "It is better to refuse to answer any questions."
Yet the FBI ASAC is cited in the CAIR release emphasizing how "building and maintaining a healthy partnership with the American Muslim community is essential to ensuring safety and security for all members of the community, including American-Muslims."
Shouldn't it be a two-way street?