Advocacy groups sued the FBI and the Department of Justice on Tuesday for failing to turn over records they requested on surveillance in the Muslim-American community.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Muslim groups, alleges that the FBI has turned over only four pages of documents to community leaders, despite a Freedom of Information Act request filed more than a year ago. The documents were not related to surveillance.
The request sought records that described FBI guidelines and policies for surveillance and investigation of Muslim religious organizations, as well as specific information about FBI inquiries targeting 11 groups or people.
The lawsuit states that all the plaintiffs — who include some of the most prominent Muslim leaders in California — have reason to believe they have been investigated by the FBI since January 2001.
"It sends a message that Muslim-Americans have been, and continue to be, cooperating with law enforcement, but they're concerned there might be a disproportionate focus ... on their religious practices," said ACLU attorney Ranjana Natarajan. [Link]
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