[JURIST] The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [advocacy website] Thursday blasted [press release] a proposed plan that would allow Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] agents to consider a person's race, religion, or ethnicity in deciding whether to open a terrorism investigation. CAIR decried the plan as "unconstitutional and un-American," saying that it could allow security agents to target Muslims and Arab-Americans for harassment. A US Department of Justice spokesman responding to press reports on the plan - which has neither been finalized nor formally announced - denied that the new guidelines would allow profiling, noting that ethnicity is only one of many factors to be considered and that it is only when all those factors as a whole are deemed suspicious that an investigation can be opened. Under the proposed guidelines as explained to AP by unnamed sources, agents would be able to initiate investigations even in instances where there is no evidence of a crime, something required under current guidelines. AP has more. Fox News has additional coverage.
Rights complaints by Muslims in the US rose 25 percent in 2006, according to an annual report on civil rights [PDF text; press release] released by CAIR last year. The group attributed the jump to a rise in anti-Muslim bias. The majority of reported complaints came against government agencies, including the DOJ.