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FBI’s Muslim Entrapment

FBI's Muslim Entrapment

One aspect of islamophobia that has received less exposure than other facets such as profiling or spying is the executive practice of FBI’s Muslim entrapment.  A study by a Washington thinktank known as The New America Foundation explained that terrorist attacks carried out on American soil (post September 11) have been predominantly the workings of extreme elements belonging to right-wing, white supremacist, and white anti-government organizations.  Of the 26 terror attacks since September 11, 19 have been by non-Jihadis.  The fact then that the FBI has only Muslims in Guantanamo, or that entrapments have only targeted increasing numbers of Muslim people susceptible of committing future crimes, instead of actual similar groups with violent potential, can only be ascribed to an overarching islamophobic approach.  Entrapment on the one hand portrays an essentially perverse image of the actual terrorist threat looming over America.  On the other hand it puts otherwise innocent people in prison.  Entrapment results in the creation of artificial threats that are then prosecuted, not to protect people, but to fulfill islamophobic biases.

Fake & Manufactured Terrorism

The image of contemporary terrorism is distorted thanks to entrapment because the people prosecuted and pursued do not pose real terrorist threats in actuality.  It begs to question why the FBI manufactures fixed terror plots if real terrorism and ISIS pose such severe threats to American soil.  The implication is that entrapment is carried out in attempts to portray government vigilance and buff up fluff terrorism statistics, for which the use of exorbitant amounts of American tax dollars on counterterrorism can be justified. The more quantifiable the artificial data on Jihadi threats to American soil is, the more islamophobia will poison minds.

One such example of a fixed terrorism plot in the past is of the “Liberty City Seven” case of 2006.  In 2006 the FBI offered a cult-like group of Haitians in Miami $50,000 in cash to pledge allegiance to Al-Qaida and to blow up the Sears Tower.  After several mistrials the group was indicted after a successful third attempt in court.  In their own words however, members of the group stated that it was their own effort to simply con the money and not actually participate in any activity; they suspected that they were in touch with fluff plans with shadowy groups that they never had any concrete meetings with.  To the Liberty City Seven, they had a group of loony and non-serious people who were offering them free cash and it was their attempt to take advantage of the situation, as it seems may have been customary in their line of living.  More and more cases like these are popping up in John DeLorean-esque circumstances solely to aid a media frenzy responsible for an increased amount of unnecessary producing of fear of faux-Jihadis, either in the best interests of islamophobic policy or as a result of an islamophobic mindset, or both.  The fear is unnecessary in essence because statistically, the real terrorists to be feared are right-wingers and the all-white militias that exist in the border areas of America.

Sting Operations

Prior to the events of September 11, entrapment in America was deemed illegal and inadmissible, but has since come to the surface once more in the legal form of sting operations. The difference between the two is effectively nonexistent as both procedures oversee the influencing of people to commit crimes they would otherwise not commit. Today sting operations are the modus operandi of law enforcement agencies that base their policing on preemptive strategies. This report from Human Rights Watch shows how the operations target Muslim communities. The study also shows entrapments target individuals based on nothing more than their civilian affiliation to Islam. Stings remain controversial as trying to prove what an individual may have done anyway brings contemporary policing of today into an era of “Pre-Crime” where executive branches of government create their own terrorists and then proceed to lock them up. The ACLU released FBI documents on Muslim surveillance which ACLU’s Staff Attorney Nusrat Choudhury described as having had:

“…compiled intelligence on American Muslim religious organizations and their leaders’ and congregants’ constitutionally protected beliefs and activities, without any suspicion of wrongdoing”.

Screening for vulnerable individuals to induce into terror plots is at best an unnecessary producing of an insular bubble of anti-terror work, and at worst is completely unconstitutional.


In short, if contemporary executive policies regarding entrapment were applied to other aspects of society they would have captured many more people that are actually inclined to violence, rather than targeting otherwise statistically less violent groups of people (Muslims).  So far however all past precedents point forward to the development of more programs like CVE and the manufacturing of fixed terrorist plots through entrapment.  This is a result of an unfair and dangerous targeting of Muslims from executive islamophobia.

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Umer Mahmood
Umer Mahmood obtained his B.A. in Mass Communication from The Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University in Indiana. He currently is the head of marketing at IRDP and oversees project management on the IRDP medical initiative, islamophobia video series, website blog contributions, marketing, and journal publishing.