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Muslim, community leaders challenge leaked documents that label Dearborn a terrorist hotspot

Civil rights groups, Muslim community and Dearborn city leaders are denouncing that city’s apparent designation as a terrorist hotspot.

The Intercept, an online magazine, obtained secret documents from the National Counterterrorism Center listing “known or suspected terrorists.”

They contain a graphic showing the top 5 locations for “known and suspected terrorists” in the US.

Dearborn is number two, behind only New York, by far the smallest city among the top five. It has fewer than 100,000 total residents—about 40% of them Arab American.

Arab and Muslim community leaders call the report evidence of “unfair and unwarranted labeling and surveillance” in Dearborn.

Hazem Bata, executive director of the Islamic Society of North America, said it’s also counter-productive because it erodes trust.

“It’s very hypocritical that various government agencies reach out to the American Muslim community for help battling terrorism, and then they label us as potential terrorists based on nothing more than our racial background, our ethnic background, or religious background,” Bata said.

Detroit US Attorney Barbara McQuade alongside Dearborn city leaders Friday to call the alleged leaked document “unfortunate and irresponsible.”

[“I am very skeptical of its accuracy, and very skeptical of those numbers,” McQuade said. “And I think it is very irresponsible to report and rank numbers, because of what it does to an entire community.”

Groups have asked for the US House judiciary to hold an inquiry on the report.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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