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An internal FBI memo obtained by Public Intelligence, the independent news research group, reported last May that extremist and armed American militia groups were planning a campaign of violence targeting Muslim groups, including Muslim and Arab institutions such as mosques and schools. The FBI bulletin was released to police agencies weeks prior to a planned anti-Muslim rally in Phoenix
By Ray Hanania
An internal FBI memo obtained by Public Intelligence, the independent news research group, reported last May that extremist and armed American militia groups were planning a campaign of violence targeting Muslim and Arab institutions such as mosques and schools.
The FBI bulletin was released to police agencies around the country weeks prior to a planned anti-Muslim rally in front of a Phoenix Mosque that was held on May 29, 2015 and drew more than 250 protestors who denounced the “evils of Islam.”
The unclassified FBI bulletin, obtained by Public Intelligence, begins, “Militia extremists are expanding their target sets to include Muslims and Islamic religious institutions in the United States. This has resulted in increased violent rhetoric and plotting and has the potential to lead, over the long term, to additional harassment of or violence against Muslims by domestic extremists.”
According to the FBI report, the domestic terrorists were contemplating kidnapping Muslim Americans and even beheading them in “retaliation” for violence in the Middle East by Islamic extremists like the Islamic State (Daesh) which has beheaded dozens of prisoners and burned others to death.
The report said that specific militia leaders and groups were targeting Americans who are Muslim as a part of the campaign to fight back against ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups in the Middle East. The primary targets are Mosques, Muslim schools, Muslim community centers, and Muslim organizations.
The militias are motivated by anger also at the U.S. Government and President Barack Obama, America’s first African American President, whom the militias assert has been sympathetic to Muslims and Islam.
A poll last February reported that 54 percent of Republicans believe that “deep down,” Obama is a Muslim and that he is pretending to be a Christian. Only 45 percent of Democrats said they believed Obama is a Christian while 10 percent said he is Muslim and the remainder said they didn’t know.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release and statement urging leaders of the Muslim community nationwide to “consider instituting additional safety measures for prayers and other activities” following the recent disclosure of the FBI findings.
The 7-page memo targets Muslims across the country but names specific states including Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Montana, New York, North and South Carolina, Utah, and Texas.
The memo reports that the militias were conducting surveillance of Muslim targets.
“This reporting indicates that extremists have often focused on targeting Islamic facilities, such as mosques or community centers, though some have discussed targeting individual Muslims within their community,” Public Intelligence reports.
“In September 2014, a source with ‘good access’ reported to the FBI that ‘militia extremists in Mississippi discussed kidnapping and beheading a Muslim and posting video of the attack to the Internet.’ Likewise, another source reported in early 2015 that the leader of a militia extremist group expressed ‘interest in training members for direct action against ISIS and associated ISIS locations’.”
The bulletin, titled “Militia Extremists Expand Target Sets To Include Muslims” was issued on May 28, 2015 by the FBI Counter Terrorism Division.
Among the extremists footnoted in the report is the extreme rightwing online website WND (formerly WorldNetDaily) which published a report asserting that “Jihadists” were planning to attack American targets. (Click to view.) WND asserted there are 35 Jihadist training camps in the United States.
Public Intelligence describes itself as “an international, collaborative research project aimed at aggregating the collective work of independent researchers around the globe who wish to defend the public’s right to access information. We operate upon a single maxim: equal access to information is a human right. We believe that limits to the average citizen’s ability to access information have created information asymmetries which threaten to destabilize democratic rule around the world. Through the control of information, governments, religions, corporations, and a select group of individuals have been able to manipulate public perception into accepting coercive agendas which are ultimately designed to limit the sovereignty and freedom of populations worldwide.”
Ironically, the FBI concludes, the focus on Muslims in America has diluted the racist agenda targeting other racial and religious groups, and weakening the movements traditional concerns over Second Amendment (right to bear arms, gun possession) rights and activities.
The bulletin also comes int he wake of increasing reports of American businesses declaring themselves “Muslim Free Zones.” Several businesses in Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma and Arkansas have posted signs declaring they will not serve Muslims and that they are “Muslim Free Zones.”
George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in a Florida gated community, reportedly praised the “Muslim Free Zone” movement and gave one gun shop that bans Muslims a hand painted “Confederate Flag.” The store is helping Zimmerman sell the painting to raise funds for Zimmerman’s legal defense in incidents unrelated to the death of the Black teenager.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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