Muslim Imam in Virginia Partners with FBI in Counterterrorism

November 14, 2005

Source: Time Magazine,33009,1129587,00.html

On November 14, 2005 Time Magazine reported, "From his mosque, [the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Imam Mohamed Magid], like many of the some 600 full-time imams across the country, is fighting his own war against radicals trying to hijack his religion... Sept. 11, 2001, 'changed the role of the American imam for good,' Magid believes. Muslims in this country found their religion under attack... For Magid, [protecting his mosque] meant working with the FBI. In early 2002, leaders of two Arab-American organizations who had been conferring with the agency on counterterrorism programs asked Magid and other local imams if they too would work with the bureau. The lawmen badly needed contacts among Washington's Muslims to help them check out leads and alert them to anything out of the ordinary, but they were getting nowhere in setting up those ties because 'there was so much fear and animosity toward the FBI in that community,' says an agent... The imam invited agents to the mosque to explain how Muslims could help, but the initial meetings were heated... The congregants vented about law-enforcement profiling, which they felt targeted all Muslims as suspects... The agents promised to be less heavy-handed in investigations, and over the next three years relations improved. Now Magid often serves as an intermediary, coaxing reluctant congregants who might have useful information about unusual activities in their neighborhoods into meeting with the FBI and advising the bureau on how to be more culturally sensitive."