An FBI informer sent to infiltrate a California mosque was made the subject of a restraining order after scaring Muslim worshippers with demands for holy war.
Craig Monteilh was known to members of the Irvine Islamic Center as Farouk al-Aziz, an apparently devout and at times over-zealous Muslim. But when he began speaking of jihad and plans to blow up buildings, senior figures at the mosque reported him the FBI – the very people who sent him. Now the FBI is facing criticism for its use of such stooges which have backfired in a number of cases.
Monteilh claims he was already working for the FBI when he was approached about infiltrating mosques and was told “Islam is a threat to our national security”. He agreed and became Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle, a French Syrian in search of his Islamic roots. He was trained by the FBI and claims he was told to infiltrate mosques in Orange County and two other counties.
Worshippers said that in Monteilh’s 10 months at the mosque, he became almost manic in his devotion, attending prayers five times a day but he was secretly recording conversations. However, when he began to tell Muslims he had access to weapons they became convinced he was a terrorist and ironically reported the informant to the FBI.
See also “Mosque infiltration feeds Muslims’ distrust of FBI, Washington Post, 5 December 2010
Update: And see Wajahat Ali, “Time for FBI to stop spying on American Muslims”, Comment is Free, 7 December 2010