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FBI mosque count raises constitutional issues. (In the Capital).

FBI Director Robert Mueller has ordered the bureau's field offices to start documenting the number of mosques in their areas as part of the federal government's ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 news media accounts in January.

A Jan. 28 article in The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times reported that a senior FBI official told congressional staff in a secret meeting that the bureau would use the information to help measure the number of terrorism investigations that the various field offices should be expected to open and pursue. The Times piece quoted an unnamed congressional aide as calling the FBI order "pure profiling at its worst form."

Criticism from civil liberties and muslim groups was swift. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is an advocacy group for Muslims in North America; its professed goals are to "enhanc[e] understanding of Islam, promot[e] justice and empower American Muslims.  (CAIR CAIR Council on American-Islamic Relations
CAIR Clean Air Interstate Rule (EPA)
CAIR Center for AIDS Intervention Research
CAIR Changing Attitudes in Recovery
CAIR California Association for Institutional Research
), said the FBI directive would undermine religious freedom and should be rescinded.

An FBI spokesman, however, told The Washington Times in early February that the counting of mosques was not part of the FBI's investigation of terrorism, but would instead be used to investigate hate crimes and vandalism against Arab-Americans and mosques. Daniel Pipes, a frequent critic of Islam, wrote in a New York Post The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and the oldest to have been published continually as a daily.[3] Since 1976, it has been owned by Australian-born billionaire Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and is one of the 10  op-ed that the FBI should not "hide its counterterrorism coun·ter·ter·ror  
Intended to prevent or counteract terrorism: counterterror measures; counterterror weapons.

Action or strategy intended to counteract or suppress terrorism.
 efforts." According to Pipes, it is common knowledge that "some mosques throughout the West have been used as a base for terror...."

The Patriot Act, which Congress and the president hurriedly set into law after the 9-11 attacks, grants the FBI greater access to mosques and other houses of worship to conduct terrorism investigations.
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Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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