Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bauer backs federal monitoring of Islamic activity in prisons, mosques

Bauer backs federal monitoring of Islamic activity in prisons, mosques

Jim Brown
June 21, 2007


A former Republican presidential candidate who is concerned about pro-terrorist activity is praising the Justice Department for recommending that prisons monitor Islamic religious materials and "worship areas" being used by inmates.

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Three inmates at the federal prison in Otisville, New York, recently sued prison officials for removing some Islamic books from the prison's chapel library, claiming their constitutional rights had been violated by the action. U.S. Attorney Brian Feldman says the Bureau of Prisons was responding to the Justice Department's concern that prisons "had been radicalized by inmates who were practicing or espousing various extreme forms of religion, specifically Islam, which exposed security risks to the prisons and beyond the prisons to the public at large."

American Values president Gary Bauer says the apparent crackdown is encouraging. "Inevitably they'll be lawsuits -- and there are already some filed -- but it seems to us that this is the sort of prudent thing that ought to be done at a time when we're facing very violent radicals, extremists that already attacked us once and would like to attack us again," he warns.

Likewise, Bauer says if there are mosques being run with Saudi money and preaching a radical form of Islam, then Americans need to know what is being said in them. It is just as important for the government to keep tabs on the activities of "the extremists who are not behind bars," says Bauer.

"We do have freedom of religion in this country -- but freedom of religion, like all of our other rights, is not a right that dominates everything else," he claims. "That is, in the process of exercising your freedom of religion, you can't be advocating or promoting violence against the United States and our people, or otherwise inciting people to riot, or to destroy or break the law."

Bauer says he and most Christians do not fear someone from the federal government sitting in their church and listening to a typical sermon, so mosques should not be bothered by it either.



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