Monday, October 16, 2006

U.S. targeted Washington-area Muslims

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. terrorism investigators focused on the Muslim community in the Washington area in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The Washington Post said 11 people were convicted for their roles in an apparent "jihad network" as federal prosecutors carried out a crackdown on Muslims with sympathies to Osama bin Laden and his cause.

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said in a recent speech that the "preventative prosecutions" were designed to head off potential terror attacks, however Muslim leaders complained of being singled out for relatively minor offenses.

The Post said some of those convicted face long prison terms for crimes such as mailing packages to their homelands and possessing literature praising Osama or radical Islam.

The newspaper also noted that the FBI and other agencies had to scramble to develop intelligence on U.S. Muslim communities in 2001 after focusing most of their resources overseas.

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