Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in Congress, said a report that the National Security Agency and FBI were tracking the email of five prominent American Muslims is “troubling because it suggests that Americans were targeted because of their faith and civic engagement.”
Documents leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the Muslim attorneys and activists were targeted for surveillance from 2002 to 2008 under a program meant to uncover terrorists and foreign agents, according to an analysis from online news organization The Intercept.
Among the documents released were training materials that used the name “Mohammed Raghead” as an example of a terrorist suspect.
“Profiling based on religion breeds distrust and resentment in communities that are potential partners in the fight against crime,” Ellison said.
“Muslim-Americans continue to face bigotry and hatred, but the NSA’s former spying practices undermine our entire nation’s progress towards greater inclusion. Undue surveillance has a chilling effect in all communities.”