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FBI used outreach programmes 'to illegally spy on Muslims' in US: Human rights group

December 2, 2011 - Washington

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has illegally spied on Muslim community groups under the cover of holding outreach meetings, a US human rights group has claimed.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a report saying the FBI had overstepped its authority and was violating the trust of groups that agreed to meet its agents.

"The FBI has been illegally using its community outreach programs to secretly collect and store information about activities... for intelligence purposes," The Telegraph quoted the ACLU, as saying.

The ACLU listed several examples of the alleged practice, including the compiling of notes on opinions, associations and contact details of participants at Ramadan dinners held in 2007 and 2008 during a San Francisco mosque outreach program.

However, the FBI denied wrongdoing, saying that information gathered by outreach teams was not used for operational matters.

"Established policy requires that an appropriate separation be maintained between outreach and operational activities and includes several provisions to ensure this is the case," the FBI said in a statement.


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