Report: 98% of people on FBI secret watchlist are Muslims

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has released data which reveals that 98% of people targeted by the FBI on a secret watchlist are Muslims.

In a new report, titled “Twenty Years Too Many, A Call to Stop the FBI’s Secret Watchlist,” CAIR details the FBI’s use of the Terrorism Screening Database to target Muslims, and estimates around 98% of names on the watchlist are Muslim names.

More than 350,000 entries alone in the portion of the watchlist acquired by CAIR include some transliteration of “Mohamed” or “Ali” or “Mahmoud,” and the top 50 most frequently occurring names are all Muslim names.

An individual’s watchlist status is used by government agencies to target people when they travel, to forbid people from flying, to deny individuals licenses and permits, to refuse to hire people, to fire people already employed, and to delay or deny visas and applications for U.S. citizenship or a U.S. passport.

CAIR said: “For now over twenty years, the FBI has detained, surveilled, harassed, and destroyed the lives of innocent Muslims. The public record amply documents how these abuses, inflicted via always-expanding FBI powers, led not to a reduction in terrorism, but painful, farcical, and often dangerous abuses of Muslims.

“The federal government’s multi-decade effort to recruit a vast network of informants inside the Muslim community, with all the lawlessness and acts of intimidation such an effort entails, has nothing to show for it.

“The same goes for the practice of patting down some Muslim babies and their diapers for explosives at airports, the policies that cause federal agents to handcuff Muslim mothers and fathers returning to this country, often at gunpoint, in front of their crying and terrified children, and all the interrogations of Muslims in their homes and while traveling about how often they pray and which mosque they go to.”

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CAIR studied more than 1.5 million entries on a 2019 version of the FBI’s list, provided to them by a Swiss hacker who found them online after a regional air carrier accidentally posted them to the public internet.

One scroll through the list reveals it is almost completely comprised of Muslim names. Of the watchlist entries CAIR reviewed, they estimate that more than 1.47 million of those entries regard Muslims – over 98 percent of the total.

An example of how the watchlist works happened on May 1 when the Secret Service barred an elected official,

Mayor Mohamed Khairullah

of Prospect Park New Jersey, from entering the White House for an Eid celebration the president invited him to attend because of a secret status the FBI had assigned him years ago without notice or explanation.

CAIR said: “For twenty years, the FBI’s secret list has brought hardship and fear to the Muslim community. But the FBI’s next million targets won’t be Muslim. With the War on Terror fog lifting, the FBI’s secret list will one day find a new target. The next targets will be our fellow Americans, and this report is meant as a warning to them.

“We are raising the alarm. This can and will happen to all of us, from every community, even those beyond the Muslims currently filling the FBI’s list. We call on all Americans
to join our demand that the FBI stop sharing its secret list as a first step to responsibly unwinding it.”

On its website the FBI says the Terrorist Screening Center “keeps the American people safe by sharing terrorism-related information across the U.S. government and with other law enforcement agencies.

“Before the 9/11 attacks, there were several different terrorism watchlists, making it difficult to share information. The TSC consolidated that into one federal terrorism watchlist. This watchlist has information on people reasonably suspected to be involved in terrorism (or related activities)…

“Most people on the terrorism watchlist are not Americans, and they have no known connection to the U.S. For security reasons, the TSC does not confirm anyone’s status on the watchlist.”

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