Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dearborn: New FBI Special Agent in Charge panders to Muslim community

Technically the Arab community, but does the FBI ever do outreach to Christian Arabs? via The Arab American News – New FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Abbate meets with leaders, listens to community’s concerns.
DEARBORN — Paul M. Abbate, the new Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division visited The Arab American News’ (TAAN) office on Nov. 25 as part of a series of meetings to introduce himself to the region’s Arab and Muslim communities. TAAN conducted a short introductory interview with him prior to a meeting at the newspaper with other community leaders including Osama Siblani, publisher of TAAN, Ali Jawad, founder of the Lebanese American Heritage Club, Allie Berri, chairman of the Congress of Arab American Organizations in Michigan, Chaker Aoun, president of Tri County Business Association and Ali Siblani, president and CEO of EnvisionTEC.
Abbate has granted similar interviews to other local media outlets, as part of ongoing efforts to reach out to different communities across metro Detroit.
Such as?
Abbate was accompanied by John Shoup, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Detroit and Bushra Alawie, who works for the FBI as a liaison to the Arab American community.
TAAN’s staff took advantage of the opportunity to discuss with Abbate some of the issues Arab and Muslim Americans have had with the agency and asked that he address them.

Below are excerpts of the interview TAAN conducted with Abbate:
The Arab American News: One major concern a lot of Arabs and Muslims have is over the continued profiling of minorities at the U.S.-Canada border. In 2012, CAIR Michigan filed a lawsuit against the FBI and CBP on behalf of Muslims over the repeated detention and questioning of their faith. Many Muslims have been asked how many times a day they pray and what mosque they pray at. Is there anything you could do to prevent these types of questions from being asked?
Paul M. Abbate: So our agents, when we’re out doing the work that we do, operate under strict investigative guidelines, which are published, everyone is aware of them. They are strictly prohibited, both within the rules and regulations, guidelines and law, from engaging in profiling, and we do not tolerate that, so if that was to occur I would want to know about it, and we would take steps to ensure it wasn’t occurring. I would tell you, I’m sensitive to that. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard things like that, and I think in terms of what I can do here is what I said before, we operate in a very strict set of guidelines that prohibit our agents from being involved in those types of things.
And that is my expectation that we will follow those guidelines, rules and regulations.
TAAN: Does the FBI have a liaison for other ethnic communities, and if not, why does it have one for the Arab American community?
PA: Yes, we have liaisons for other communities, and that is important for me and for us. It is important to reach out and have relationships with people from all communities. We defend and represent everyone.
Great question. Not such a great answer and he doesn’t name any other “community” that he has a liaison for and no group takes up more of the FBI’s time or resources than the Muslim/Arab community. 
They’ve put the new FBI guy on notice early and will likely do it often during his tenure in Detroit…which based on his distinguished resume (detailed in the link at top) should last about a year before he’s shuffled elsewhere.

No comments: