Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
November 30, 2001 | C, Delinda
American Muslim leaders held a news conference outside the headquarters of Infocom, an Internet business in Richardson, Texas, on Sept. 6 to describe a raid on that business the previous day as part of an “anti-Muslim witch-hunt” promoted by the pro-Israel lobby in America. More than 80 agents from the FBI, INS, Customs Service and other federal agencies raided the offices of Infocom in the early morning hours of Sept. 5.
The statement read to reporters said: “American Muslims view yesterday’s action as just one of a long list of attempts by the pro-Israel lobby to intimidate and silence all those who wish to see Palestinian Muslims and Christians free themselves of a brutal apartheid-like occupation. We believe the genesis of this raid lies not in Washington, but in Tel Aviv.
“While Muslims understand the FBI’s mission to protect American citizens, we are concerned that the civil liberties of Infocom’s owners and their many important clients were violated by this unexpected raid. Such an assault leaves the Muslim community and the public at large with many unanswered questions and a lingering sense of violation. We expect the FBI to provide a prompt and full disclosure of the circumstances that led to this raid, the basis of their suspicions and the evidence for which they were searching.
“It is disturbing that American law enforcement agencies are now perceived by American Muslims and Arab-Americans as being tools in the hands of a foreign government. Our elected officials must not allow Israel to import its unjust and discriminatory policies to this country or to mislabel peaceful challenges to those policies as `support for terrorism.'”
Groups represented at the news conference included the American Muslim Council, American Muslims for Jerusalem, American Muslim Alliance, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), Muslim Alliance in North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Muslim Student Association of U.S. and Canada.
Infocom hosts Web sites for some 500 companies worldwide, including several major Muslim-American organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, the IAP and the Holy Land Foundation. Most Web sites were back in action by the next day.
One of Infocom’s clients whose Web site was temporarily shut down by the raid is Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television network. Israel has criticized the popular and respected TV station for its reporting on the Jewish state’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
The raid came just weeks after an Aug. 13 Wall Street Journal column by Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes that called for just such an action by the government. “The federal authorities should use the tools it already has for closing down these Web sites and organizations,” wrote the pro-Israel activists, who have a long history of defaming the Muslim-American community.
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