Since he was a teen, Craig Monteilh has pretended to be someone he wasn't Russian, Muslim, a white supremacist…
His role as an informant in state prison provided early training, says Monteilh, who is African-American, but light skinned. After being arrested for grand theft in 2002, he was sentenced to state prisons in Tehachapi and Chino. There, he pretended to be Caucasian to blend in with white supremacists.
Six years later, he would be involved in the case of Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, a Tustin man arrested on suspicion of lying on immigration forms about ties to terrorist organizations. Monteilh's name and picture would appear in several news reports. In a court hearing, an FBI agent says that Niazi was recorded in a conversation calling Osama bin Laden "an angel" and that an informant had been behind the recording.
Days later, Monteilh emerged as that informant.
The revelation raised questions about the FBI's tactics. Muslim leaders said the bureau was planting informants who were inciting violent and jihadist conversations. Since then, relations between Muslim organizations and the FBI have soured, leaders say.
Meanwhile, the FBI has repeated that it does not profile suspects, and while it has refused to comment on specific allegations, Monteilh's role or investigative techniques, a spokeswoman has said the FBI has followed criminal leads when investigations lead them there.
In multiple interviews with The Orange County Register, Monteilh detailed cases he worked with federal investigators and how he went from informing on inmates he befriended in prison to being involved with counter-terrorism…
By July 2006, Monteilh alleges he was working as an informant for the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force, pretending to be a man named Farouk al-Aziz. In that role, Monteilh says he was instructed to infiltrate local mosques and gain the trust of local religious leaders. (More)
VIDEO: CAIR REP DEBATES AIRPORT PROFILING ON FOX'S 'O'REILLY FACTOR' - TOP
CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper debates the issue of airport profiling on Fox's “O'Reilly Factor."
The director of the Bay Area Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Zahra Billoo, tells ABC7 when airport screeners focus on anyone who looks Middle Eastern or Muslim, the screeners may miss more important indicators.
"If someone is in line and they look shifty, if they look like they have a suspicious package, if they're behaving in a way that concerns people around them, if they're acting out of the ordinary, then that is a reason to profile them. If someone is speaking a different language, that is not generally a reason to profile an individual," says Billoo.
Video: CAIR-LA COMMENTS ON AIRPORT PROFILING - TOP
A foiled bid by a Nigerian to blow up a U.S. airliner is reframing the delicate debate about racial profiling in the United States, where men from the Middle East have been foremost under the scanner.
U.S. government guidelines prohibit authorities from singling out people on the basis of race or ethnicity. But with airports struggling to scan snarling queues of passengers since the Christmas Day plot, many say it is naive to deny that security officers consider race as a factor.
Critics of racial profiling say that the case of 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of trying to ignite explosives on a Northwest Airlines flight, showed the pitfalls of judging by appearance.
"Half of Nigeria isn't Muslim, so what do you do then? Do you ask if they're Muslim?" saidIbrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a pressure group.
"If you've got a Nigerian passport, do you say, 'If you're Christian, come on through; if you're Muslim, come with me?'" he said. (More)
VIDEO: CAIR BLASTS METRO AIRPORT TERROR ATTACK - TOP
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) -- Nigerian-American and other Michigan Muslim leaders have condemned al-Qaida and its claim of responsibility for the Christmas attack on a Detroit-bound plane.
LOCAL NIGERIANS AND YEMENIS CONDEMN DETROIT FLIGHT ATTACK - TOP Catherine Jun, The Detroit News, 12/29/09
Southfield -- Area Muslims, representing the local Nigerian and Yemeni communities, gathered to condemn the failed terrorist attack aboard a flight headed to Detroit on Christmas Day and send a message to al-Qaida supporters that their actions are not condoned by Islam.
"Killing and targeting civilians is unacceptable in Islam," said Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan's Council on American-Islamic Relations, at a press conference convened this morning in the local chapter's office in Southfield.
He was flanked by three area Muslim leaders: Imam Kazeem Agboola, head of the Muslim Community Center in Detroit; Noa Fasina, secretary of the center; and Ibrahim Aljahim, president and CEO of Arab American Outreach. (More)
CAIR: WAS STORE OWNER'S DEATH HATE CRIME? - TOP KPRC-TV, 12/29/09
LIBERTY, Texas -- The motive behind the Christmas Day killing of a grocery store owner is being questioned, KPRC Local 2 reported Tuesday.
Liberty police said Stevie Walder, 31, fatally shot Naushad I. Virani, 51, during a robbery at the Ridgewood Grocery Store in the 4300 block of North Main.
"There is video surveillance from the store that our investigators have," Officer Hugh Bishop said. "That video, along with other evidence, led us to the suspect."
Walder is a suspected white supremacist. Photos on his MySpace page show he has a tattoo of a swastika on his left arm and various other tattoos on other parts of his body.
"We know he was an active member of a group," Bishop said. "We just haven't nailed down which one yet. Right now it's looking like the Aryan Brotherhood."
Virani was Muslim. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked the FBI to investigate whether Virani's religion was a motive in the killing. (More)
WOMAN SUES ATLANTA POLICE OVER HIJAB DISPUTE - TOP Associated Press, 12/29/09
ATLANTA -- A Muslim woman is claiming in a federal lawsuit that she was dismissed from the Atlanta Police Department's civilian honor guard because she refused to remove her traditional headscarf. (More)
DEARBORN -- A local police chief is defending his decision to withhold the release of an autopsy report on Detroit Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was killed Oct. 28 in a gunfight with the FBI at a Dearborn warehouse.
“While I understand the emotions surrounding the case and the sensitivity of the information, I’m standing by my decision,” Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said Monday.
Haddad told the Press & Guide he asked the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office to delay releasing the report until after the Dearborn Police Department has completed its investigation into the Islamic leader’s shooting, despite concerns from several civil rights groups about a possible cover-up of facts surrounding Abdullah’s death.
“If I thought there was something in the report that people didn’t already know, I’d release it,” he said. “We’re not hiding anything. We just want to make sure that there are no gaps in the information. Once the case is closed, we will disclose everything.”
He said the inquiry into Abdullah’s death could be concluded by Jan. 31.
But the department’s refusal to release the information immediately has several civil rights groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) concerned about a potential cover-up.
“If the autopsy is being suppressed to media and advocates, this would be very disturbing indeed and will raise even more suspicion in regards to the shooting of the imam,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. “Transparency would be the best measure for restoring public confidence in the process.”
Walid and other civil rights leaders have called for an independent investigation into the imam’s death, citing concerns about whether excessive force was used during the Oct. 28 raid at a warehouse in Dearborn, where agents attempted to arrest Abdullah on charges that included conspiracy to sell stolen goods and illegal possession and sale of firearms. (More)