Muslims: A Fifth Column?

One high-ranking FBI official in our area says that most of possible terror tips they receive come from Muslims about other Muslims. And that the overwhelming majority of these claims and tips when investigated are completely unfounded and the Muslims in question have absolutely no link whatsoever to anything related to terrorism.

O you who believe, avoid most suspicion. Indeed some suspicion is a sin. And do not spy and do not backbite one another. [Hujurat 49/12]

Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the gravest lie in talk, and do not be inquisitive about one another and do not spy on one another, and do not turn one’s back to each other, do not hate each other, and be servants to Allah and be brothers.

[Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


  1. I’d guess that’s true about most hints and tips. Most don’t pan out; those that do are rarely ‘hot leads’. Its distressing, though, to have the word of suspicion come from ‘your community’ (whether that be a physical community, a religious one, or some other kind of organization). That feeling of ‘who turned me in? who can’t I trust’ is corrosive in many ways. I don’t suppose it would make it better if it was coming from people outside the community, though. In fact, that’d be worse.

    So if you know, or legitimately suspect, that someone in your community is up to no good, Muslim or not, what should you do? Who can you legitimately tell, if anyone?

  2. Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

    I believe that statement is attributed to Michael Mason the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Assistant FBI Director.

    He has made himself available to answer questions and concerns from the Muslim community on several occassions.

  3. Bill,

    I would have no problem turning in to authorities someone actually planning or doing something illegal. The problem as I see it is that there are far too many innocent people being caught up in this dragnet on the most circumstancial evidence.

    And the government doesn’t seem able to tell the difference between actual threats and those that pose no threat.

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