By Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2010

If you’re a Christian, you wouldn’t want the FBI planting informants in the next pew when you’re at church.

You wouldn’t want that informant trying to entice your teenage son into committing violent acts.

And you wouldn’t want your priest to be pressured by federal agents to spy on your congregation.

Yet the FBI is engaging in all of these activities in American Muslim congregations.

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In one case — that of ex-convict and FBI informant Craig Monteilh, who pretended to be a congregant in order to spy on numerous mosques in Southern California — the FBI even wanted to build a gym to attract young Muslims to work out and “discuss jihad.” Ironically, mosque elders became alarmed by Monteilh’s behavior and alerted the local FBI office.

In another incident, a Miami imam was threatened with deportation if he didn’t spy on his congregants.

You might say that because of the actions of a few violent Muslims, such actions are justified.

But in the last month alone, we’ve witnessed the violent plans and wishes of a few Christians. A Southern California minister and former vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Wiley Drake, prayed for God to kill the 219 members of Congress who approved health care legislation. And FBI agents in Michigan arrested members of the Hutaree, a “Christian militia,” whose twisted, apocalyptic version of Armageddon motivated their plan to kill police officers and spark a national uprising against the federal government.

But the FBI should not take these examples as an excuse to begin infiltrating all churches around the country.

Yet FBI agent provocateurs have infiltrated mosques, without evidence of wrongdoing by religious leaders or congregants, in places like New York, Florida and Southern California. The FBI defends these violations of Americans’ constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion and has even codified these new powers in its agents’ guidelines.

All Americans, regardless of faith, should be free to pray without the government listening over their shoulders. The only One hearing our prayers should be God.

Farhana Khera is executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and educational organization based in San Francisco. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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