US steps up pressure on Latino Muslims
The recent case of Antonio Martinez — a young Latino man charged with plotting to blow up a military recruitment center near Baltimore, Maryland — has garnered much media interest.
Reports say that Martinez, who is a Muslim convert, was entrapped by FBI undercover agents that led the young Latino to collaborate in an alleged attempt to bomb the military compound.
“It’s [not only] the nature of these individuals but also their case studies, the substantive dimensions of their work, and who they are in contact with, and what they represent that I think is why Latino converts have garnered some attention,” NPR quoted former Deputy National Security Adviser to the Bush administration Juan Zarate as saying in regard to Martinez.
Thousands of Latinos — a community predominately Catholic — have converted to Islam nationwide. The Latino community stands as the fastest-growing minority group in the United States, while Islam is the fast-growing religion.
The Muslim community has criticized the FBI for racial profiling. FBI tactics include spying on worshippers at mosques and entrapment by undercover agents.
One case has involved an undercover FBI informant and an ex-convict in Irvine, California, named Craig Monteilh. Members of a mosque that he infiltrated obtained a restraining order against him after he kept talking about carrying out violent activities.
Monteilh is now suing the FBI and has gone public with details of how he was trained to spy and entrap people.
“They got a guy, a bona fide criminal, and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.
“And when things went sour, they ditched him and he got mad,” Syed added.