The Department of Homeland Security, which under Secretary Janet Napolitano has shown a keen interest in monitoring and warning about outspoken conservatives, takes a very different approach in monitoring political Islamists, according to a 2011 memo on protecting the free speech rights of pro-Shariah Muslim supremacists.
In a checklist obtained by The Daily Caller entitled “Countering Violent Extremism Dos and Don’ts” the DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties notifies local and national law enforcement officials that it is Obama administration policy to consider specifically Islamic criticism of the American system of government legitimate.
This policy stands in stark contrast to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis’ 2009 memo “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [pdf], which warned of the dangers posed by pro-life advocates, critics of same-sex marriage and groups concerned with abiding by the U.S. Constitution, among others.
The advice of the Dos and Don’ts list is far more conciliatory. “Don’t use training that equates radical thought, religious expression, freedom to protest, or other constitutionally-protected activity, including disliking the U.S. government without being violent,” the manual’s authors write in a section on training being “sensitive to constitutional values.”
The manual, which was produced by an inter-agency working group from DHS and the National Counterterrorism Center, advises, “Trainers who equate the desire for Sharia law with criminal activity violate basic tenets of the First Amendment.”
The checklist also advised against using moderate Muslim “trainers who are self-professed ‘Muslim reformers’” because they “may further an interest group agenda instead of delivering generally accepted, unbiased information.”
The Homeland Security document also seems to discount evidence unearthed by the Justice Department about the aims of some mainstream Muslim organizations, warning law enforcement not to rely on “unsubstantiated theories” and “conspiracies,” such as the belief that “many mainstream Muslim organizations have terrorist ties” or are “fronts for Islamic political organizations whose true desire is to establish Sharia law in America.”