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FBI Says Muslim Student Groups Not Monitored

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On May 27 we noted a report in the Orange County Register that the FBI was ramping up investigations of Islamic extremism in Orange County, specifically at UC Irvine.

Last night the FBI met with Islamic student groups from the University of California Irvine (lgf: search) and the University of Southern California, to assure the Muslim groups that they could continue doing what they’re doing without fear of being investigated or watched in any way: Article: News - FBI says Muslims at UCI aren’t monitored. (Hat tip: Doss.)

IRVINE – The FBI and Muslim community leaders met again Monday night, one in a series of gatherings since 9/11 intended to promote a better understanding of each other.

The latest meeting was needed, Muslim leaders said, because of a report by Register columnist Frank Mickadeit last month in which Pat Rose, head of the FBI’s Orange County al-Qaida squad, was quoted as saying her agency was looking for potential terrorists here through a variety of electronic eavesdropping techniques.

Rose said the FBI is aware of large numbers of Muslims at UC Irvine and USC. And she said she was “quite surprised” that “there are a lot of individuals of interest right here in Orange County.”

Stephen Tidwell, assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, told about 100 people gathered at the Islamic Center of Irvine, that “we do not, we cannot, we do not” monitor students at UC Irvine and USC. …

He answered no when asked whether the FBI is monitoring Irvine’s Muslim community and said, “We would have to have reasonable cause to do that.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is very pleased:

Sabiha Khan, spokeswoman for the Council on American Islamic Relations in Anaheim, said the meetings have been helpful.

“Thankfully with improved training of the FBI we hear less and less of the questions about what mosque (Muslims) went to or what imam they liked to listen to,” Khan said.

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