(WASHINGTON, DC - 9/6/2001) - American Muslim leaders today said a raid
Wednesday on a Texas internet business was part of an "anti-Muslim witch
hunt" promoted by the pro-Israel lobby in America. Early yesterday morning,
more than 80 agents from the FBI, INS, Customs Service, and other federal
agencies raided the offices of Infocom Corporation in Richardson, Texas.
In a statement released at a news conference outside Infocom's
headquarters, the Muslim groups 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.
"Hundreds of innocent American businesses and citizens are being harmed by
the government's actions. This incident can only serve to marginalize
millions of American Muslims who are committed to the betterment of our
"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
"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 American Muslim Council,
American Muslims for Jerusalem, American Muslim Alliance, Council on
American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Islamic
Circle of North America, Islamic Association for Palestine, Muslim Alliance
in North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Muslim Student
Association of US and Canada.
Infocom hosts web sites for some 500 companies worldwide. For several
years, Infocom and other Muslim entities in Texas have been the focus of
pressure from pro-Israel groups who object to American Muslim support for
Palestinian human and political rights. Authorities did not reveal the
motive for the raid except to say it was part of an "ongoing investigation."
One of Infocom's clients whose web site was shut down by the raid is
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television network. Al-Jazeera, a popular
and respected Arabic news outlet, has frequently been criticized by Israel
for its reporting on that state's brutal policies in the Occupied Territories.
The raid came just weeks after a Wall Street Journal column by Steven
Emerson and Daniel Pipes that called for just such an action by the
government. They wrote: "...the federal authorities should use the tools it
already has for closing down these Web sites and organizations."
Muslims say Emerson and Pipes are infamous pro-Israel "muslim-bashers" who
have a long history of defaming their community.
SEE: "Steven Emerson's Crusade,"
www.fair.org/extra/9901/emerson.html and "Who is Daniel Pipes?,"
CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper at 202-488-8787,