Debates About Domestic Security

Should American Mosques Be Watched By The Government?

Some Americans worry that American mosques may be teaching hostility to America and encouraging terrorist attacks on the U.S. They want mosques to be watched by the government.

Since 2002, FBI undercover agents have been authorized to visit mosques to gather information about what’s going on in the Muslim community, even when there’s no evidence of illegal activity. However, electronic wiretaps can only be used when there is evidence of illegal activity.

In 2003, the FBI decided to count the number of mosques in various regions of the country, in order to help determine how many terrorism investigations and wiretaps were needed in each region.
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Can American Muslims Talk About 9/11?

While many Americans of various faiths have opposed the U.S. government’s domestic and international “War on Terror,” American Muslims who have expressed their criticisms and doubts about these policies have often had their loyalty questioned.

Many Americans wonder why a large number of American Muslims oppose monitoring mosques and Muslim charities, phone wiretapping and airport profiling. Is it because American Muslims are unwilling to tolerate any personal inconvenience or intrusion on their privacy, even if it makes the country safer? Is it because American Muslims sympathize with terrorists, and they don’t want terror plots disrupted?

And many Americans wonder why many American Muslims opposed the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Is it because American Muslims put the safety of their fellow Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq over the safety of their fellow Americans here at home? Is it because American Muslims want al-Qaeda to have bases it can use to strike America again? Read the rest of this entry »

Should The Government Profile Muslims At Airports?

There have been several recent Al Qaeda plots involving American commercial airplanes: the 9/11 attacks; the attempted 2001 shoe bombing; the 2006 plot to bomb planes flying from London to the U.S.; and the December 2009 attempt to blow up a plane over Detroit.

Following each of these attacks and plots, there have been public calls to focus airport security on Muslims flying to the U.S., and on Muslims flying within the U.S. During times of public fear, some American Muslim travelers have been subjected to heightened scrutiny. For example, following the disruption of Al Qaeda’s August 2006 plot to bomb planes flying from London to the U.S., some American Muslims of Iraqi descent flying into the U.S. from overseas reported that federal agents in New York took their American passports; held them for several hours without food, water, or chairs; asked them if they ever had weapons training and what they thought about the Iraq war; and yelled at them and threatened to arrest them when they complained about the way they were being treated. Read the rest of this entry »

McCain v. Obama: The “War On Terror”

Muslims For A Safe America has prepared the following comparison of John McCain’s views and Barack Obama’s views relating to the “War on Terror.” As a 501(c)(3) organization, Muslims For A Safe America does not endorse candidates. Muslims For A Safe America encourages readers to assess the policies of each candidate in terms of whether those policies would make America and the Muslim world safer.

In some ways, John McCain and Barack Obama are very similar, and they share a similar worldview, which may make some American Muslims uncomfortable. Both believe that America is threatened by some Muslim groups and that Al Qaeda is a very serious threat to America. However, they differ about the best way to fight the war against Al Qaeda.

The War on Terror is a challenging subject to discuss with Muslim audiences, because our community is divided on the issue of whether or not any Muslims were involved in 9/11 and whether Al Qaeda is real. These are significant issues, because if Muslims were not involved in 9/11, and if Al Qaeda is not real, then the “War on Terror” is misdirected. On the other hand, if Muslims were involved in 9/11, and if Al Qaeda is real, then the “War on Terror” makes more sense.

The “War On Terror” issues are presented in two main categories: foreign policy issues and civil liberties/domestic security issues. The issues are presented in alphabetical order. Read the rest of this entry »

Should America Allow A Muslim Country To Manage Some American Seaports?

President Bush wants to allow a company owned by Dubai (which is part of the United Arab Emirates or UAE) to manage shipping terminals at six American seaports. Such terminals are used for civilian and military shipping purposes. Those terminals are currently managed by a British company. Many Americans object to allowing Dubai to run these ports.

American-owned companies manage less than ten percent of the 100 major shipping terminals in the U.S. The majority of these major shipping terminals in the U.S. are managed by foreign-owned companies. Even companies owned by or linked to foreign governments operate some American ports. For example, companies owned by the governments of Singapore and Venezuela operate shipping terminals in America. A company run by a high-ranking Chinese government official operates a NY shipping terminal that has been used to deploy American troops to Iraq. The American public has not objected to any of these arrangements. (However, government officials did object to a Chinese company’s efforts to buy an American oil company, Unocal, in 2005. In 2006, government officials objected to an Israeli company’s attempt to buy an American software security company which has developed intrusion detection software used on some government computers.)

Another Dubai-owned company is trying to buy nine American factories that make parts for tanks, military planes, missiles, and missile launch systems. Read the rest of this entry »