Ellison: “Let’s Not Cast A Wide Net And Just Go After A Whole Religious Group”

April 25, 2013 by  


ellison
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D-MINN.): Well, you know, it is too early for me to second-guess the FBI. I think we need to know more about what they knew. The fact of the matter is that it is good that they contacted him. That wasn’t enough to deter him, obviously. But the fact is that before I’m going to say the FBI should have done something different, what I, I’m not prepared to say that yet. There is just not enough information. What I will say is this: We don’t know what their motivation was yet. Those facts may come clear. There is some indication that this had to do with Chechnya and their dispute with Russia. And there is not, it is not necessarily the case that anyone should jump to the conclusion that there was any religious motivation here. I think again, prudence and calm is the order of the day.

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ELLISON: I think the first thing to do is to ask questions and to operate on the basis of behavior. And so this gentleman, well, individual, I’ll say that, he came to the attention of the FBI because of things he said and things he did. That’s appropriate. What should not be cause for alarm is somebody’s status as a member of a particular religious faith or how devout they may happen to be. In all these cases where you see acts of radicalized individuals using violence, they may have a religious affiliation. But oftentimes when they give reasons for why they did what they did, it is politics. So for example, Timothy McVeigh was motivated by Waco, not his religion. Feisal Shazhad happens to be Muslim but he was motivated by his grievances with regard U.S. policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Who knows what these individuals’ motivation may be? But it will probably have more to do with politics than religion. Let’s not cast a wide net and just go after a whole religious group.

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