There is nothing wrong with law enforcement monitoring Muslim terrorists or potential Muslim terrorists. But unfortunately, as I wrote in the Dumb Police State, that’s not really the system we have.
Instead our system “spreads the pain” and specifically excludes Muslims from some of the same experiences to avoid “alienating” them and to win their cooperation.
Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.
Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.
We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.
Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.
If only they were allowed to continue, perhaps the many victims of the Boston Marathon bombings would not have lost their lives and limbs. The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks, and it did not check out the radical Boston mosque where the Muslim bombers worshipped.
This is particularly disturbing in light of recent independent surveys of American mosques, which reveal some 80% of them preach violent jihad or distribute violent literature to worshippers.
We need enforcement and surveillance, but it needs to be smart and targeted surveillance. And that can only happen under leaders who stop apologizing for singling out members of an ideology responsible for our long war because of their beliefs.
We’re at war with an ideology. Singling out members of that ideology is the only rational way to fight that war.