For many Muslim and Arab-Americans these days, meeting a FBI agent can be an unsettling, even terrifying experience.
Beginning almost immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI began to root out suspected terrorists, and Arab and Muslim communities became the bureau's top targets. Agents rounded up hundreds of people for questioning. They raided Muslim charities, monitored mosques for radiation and held refugees for months because of security checks.
To regain the trust of Muslim and Arab-Americans, the FBI has embarked on an aggressive national outreach program. The bureau's efforts, which include mosque visits and one-on-one meetings, have become so pervasive in certain cities that some young Muslim-Americans refer to the agency as the "Friendly Brotherhood of Islam."
Yet across the country, many participants wonder what the interactions achieve when mistrust remains the biggest obstacle. Some community activists compare the tone of the current encounters to those during the Red Scare of the 1950s, when U.S. citizens were singled out as suspected communists and expected to prove their loyalty to the United States. [Link]
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