Virtually any time a suspected Muslim terrorist is arrested in an investigation involving an informant, national Islamist groups decry the use of "agent provocateurs" and raise the issue of entrapment.
There's been little such concern in the wake of the arrest this week of nine members of a Christian militia movement in Michigan. The Hutaree cited Scripture in explaining that is was preparing for confrontation with the anti-Christ. Initial reports also indicated that Hutaree members may have made threatening statements about Muslim targets.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) applauded the FBI for the arrests.
An arraignment in Detroit for the defendants makes it clear that the FBI infiltrated the Hutaree with an undercover agent. ABC's Dan Harris reports that the agent "managed to penetrate the strange and violent parallel universe of the Hutaree."
CBS cites a tape made by the undercover agent that was played in court Wednesday. In it, Hutaree leader David Brian Stone tells his followers that "Now it's time to strike and take our nation back so we will be free of tyranny. The war will come whether we are ready or not."
That sounds an awful lot like the preaching Daniel Patrick Boyd offered to his followers. In that case, Boyd, his two sons and others, felt obliged to wage jihad against the enemies of Islam. An FBI informant recorded Boyd's fiery sermons and the group's training sessions.
Whether or not they are guilty as charged, the Boyd defendants were well armed an appeared bent on violence. In that case, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) seemed more concerned about the use of an informant. It issued a statement saying that it was "monitoring the situation and working to ensure that future policy-making on domestic terrorism balance national security with civil liberties."
The Hutaree members are accused of plotting vicious attacks on local law enforcement – killing a police officer during a traffic stop and then ambushing dozens of others who attended the slain officer's funeral.
Similarly, Detroit Imam Luqman Abdullah preached offensive jihad and used his mosque for training in martial arts and with firearms. He was recorded in a 2004 sermon yelling, "Police, so what? Police die too! Feds die too!" and "Do not carry a pistol if you're going to give it up to police. You give them a bullet."
CAIR has criticized virtually every aspect of the Abdullah case, from the role of informants to references to the imam's religious motivations to his death after he fired a gun as FBI agents moved in to arrest him.
It's clear the FBI agent who infiltrated the Hutaree put his life at risk to protect the public from violent extremists. It seems to validate the FBI's insistence that it investigates people, not religions. Perhaps it will prompt reconsideration by Islamist activists who reflexively criticize similarly courageous acts by agents and informants investigating radical Muslims.