The Washington Post reported yesterday (October 29, 2001) that the FBI were hesitant to investigate radical Islamic clerics in the US despite evidence that their mosques have been used to recruit and fund suspected terrorists. They feared charges of religious persecution.
The FBI’s fear of investigating religious leaders is illustrated by its handling of Sheik Omar Rahman, the radical Islamic leader who came to the US in 1990 with a history of alleged, involvement in terrorism. He was even detained in Egypt after the assassination of Anwar Sadat, in 1981. During the 1990s he raised money at religious gatherings and preached antagonistic views against the US and our interests. Two of his sons work with Bin Ladin.
With all this evidence of ties to terrorism he was never questioned by the FBI, until after the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 which proved that he was a central figure in that terrorist act and in the bombings of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The article goes on to mention other Muslim religious leaders who are directly involved with terrorists acts but were never under surveillance until after it was too late.
But during this same time that our government was wearing kid gloves with KNOWN terrorists, they themselves were terrorizing benign Christian groups for distributing voter guides and suggesting that their congregation vote according to their beliefs. The Church of Pierce Creek was targeted by the IRS and eventually lost it’s tax exempt status. They weren’t holding fundraisers like Buddhist temples did for Gore. They weren’t allowing candidates to come in and give political speeches as several black churches in New York City did for Hillary Clinton. They were simply exercising their free speech rights to educate people about the political process. And the pastor at the Church of Pierce Creek, certainly wasn’t planning to plant bombs that kill people.
So why, when there is a known threat against the country by an Islamic terrorist, do his religious beliefs take precedence over national security, yet when there is no threat to national security, only the exercise of free speech, a Christian preacher is routed out and his church closed? Hopefully we will see an end to this disparate treatment against Christians and the government will do what it is authorized to do and that is to protect our national security.