Loretta Lynch Plans To Visit Mosque Once Raided In Counterterrorism Probe

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Attorney General Loretta Lynch will visit a controversial Virginia mosque next week, likely as a response to a recent FBI report that found a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S.

The visit to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center (ADAMS) will mark Lynch’s first to a mosque since she took over the Justice Department last year. And that will be one visit more than the number she has paid to a synagogue. That despite there being two-and-a-half times as many hate crimes against Jews reported last year than against Muslims.

No details have been provided about Lynch’s visit or for why ADAMS was chosen.

In 2002, it was raided by federal investigators during a counterterrorism investigation called “Operation Green Quest.” A network of non-profit groups with ties to the ADAMS Center were “suspected of providing support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax evasion,” according to federal documents.

The homes of several top ADAMS Center officials were also raided as part of the investigation.

Despite that history, the mosque and its imam have developed close ties to the Obama administration. Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson visited ADAMS just days after the jihadi attacks in San Bernardino last December. And in 2011, President Obama appointed Imam Mohamed Magid to a spot on DHS’s Countering Violent Extremism working group.

Magid is also the former president of the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim civil rights group that has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Lynch’s visit comes amid a renewed media focus on hate crime incidents against Muslims.

An FBI report released last month showed that anti-Muslim hate crimes increased 67 percent from 2014 to 2015. There were 154 hate incidents in 2014 and 257 last year, according to the report.

Though attacks and threats against Muslims increased more in percentage terms than any other religious group from 2014 to 2015, Jews were still the biggest targets of bias attacks. There were 664 anti-Jewish incidents last year, according to the FBI. Of the 1,354 hate crimes that were determined to be motivated by religious bias, 51 percent were anti-Jewish and 22 percent were anti-Islamic.

Despite that gap, the media has focused more attention on attacks against Muslims. That’s due, in part, to the perception of some that Donald Trump stoked anti-Muslim sentiment during the presidential campaign. Trump has said that he wants to cut immigration from nations that sponsor terrorism. He has also called for beefing up terrorism watch lists and for more surveillance of mosques.

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