Secret Service Suspends Agent For Islam Slur Words Scrawled on Calendar At Muslim Suspect's Home


By Allan Lengel

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, July 26, 2002; Page A12



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2987-2002Jul25.html



A U.S. Secret Service agent on a Detroit anti-terror

task force has been suspended after he admitted

scrawling an anti-Islamic epithet on a Muslim prayer

calendar during a search of a suspect's home last

week, authorities said yesterday.



The agent, a 10-year veteran whose name has not been

released, was removed from the U.S. Attorney's Joint

Terrorism Task Force in Detroit Wednesday and placed

on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome

of an internal investigation, the Secret Service said

yesterday.



The agent admitted writing "Islam is Evil, Christ is

King" on a calendar posted on the refrigerator in the

Dearborn home of Omar Shishani, authorities said. The

agent was part of a team executing a search warrant

July 18.



A day earlier, Shishani, 47, was arrested at Detroit

Metropolitan Airport and charged with possessing $12

million in bogus cashier's checks. Authorities have

said that his name appears on a watch list of people

who might have been trained in al Qaeda camps. They

are trying to determine whether he has links to

terrorism, something his lawyer has denied.



U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins in Detroit said the

agent could face criminal charges, including civil

rights violations and exceeding authority during the

execution of a search warrant, according to an office

spokeswoman.



Shishani's attorney, Nabih Ayad, said yesterday that

the agent's action had "undermined the credibility" of

the task force and the case against his client, who is

being held without bond.



"It is really disturbing," Ayad said. "What else is

this person thinking of doing? Is he thinking of

sticking something inside the home? Sticking fake

phone numbers in the home? I couldn't believe someone

from the federal government would do such a thing."



Hodan Hassan, spokeswoman for the Council on American

Islamic Relations in Washington, lauded the Secret

Service for taking quick action against the agent.



"We hope this sends a signal throughout law

enforcement agencies that such bigoted behavior is not

tolerated. This incident also highlights the need for

law enforcement officials to undergo sensitivity

training."



The federal agent was suspended after he was

interviewed by the Secret Service's Office of

Inspection in Washington, said Marc Connolly, an

agency spokesman. "The Secret Service does not and

will not tolerate racial, cultural or religious bias,"

Connolly said. "The Secret Service regrets the

unprofessional action taken by this individual."



Federal authorities described the agent as a religious

man who had no prior disciplinary actions at the

agency.



 2002 The Washington Post Company

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Secret Service agent may be charged



He admits he scrawled anti-Islam graffiti in raid



July 26, 2002



BY CECIL ANGEL AND JIM SCHAEFER

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS



http://www.freep.com/news/metro/nchecks26_20020726.htm



A U.S. Secret Service agent may face criminal charges

after he admitted he scrawled "ISLAM IS EVIL" and

"Christ is KING" on an Islamic prayer calendar during

a raid at a Dearborn house, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey

Collins said Thursday.



"This type of unprofessional behavior by a federal

agent will not be tolerated," Collins said at a news

conference in Detroit.



Federal officials refused to identify the agent. They

would also not give his age or say exactly how long he

has worked for the agency. They would only say that

he's been an agent for five to 10 years. He has been

placed on administrative leave with pay.



FBI and Secret Service agents went to the home of Omar

Shishani on Chovin in Dearborn on July 18 to execute a

search warrant. Shishani had been arrested July 17 at

Detroit Metro Airport after a customs inspector

discovered nine counterfeit checks totaling $12

million in his possession.



Shishani also is under investigation for possible

links to terrorism. According to court documents,

Shishani has told federal officials he was a Jordanian

spy in the 1970s. When he was arrested at the airport

after arriving from Indonesia, he carried a paper with

Arabic verses from the Koran that appeared, in

translation, to refer to martyrs and apocalyptic

events, the FBI has said.



Collins said the Secret Service agent's conduct would

be subject to review and potential discipline by the

Office of Professional Responsibility of the Secret

Service. The agent could lose his job, Collins said.



"His conduct is also under investigation for possible

criminal charges," Collins said.



The agent could be charged with acting in excess of

his authority in the execution of a search warrant,

Collins said. The agent also could face charges

related to civil rights violations.



Marc Connolly, a Secret Service spokesman in

Washington, said the agent came forward with his

admission Tuesday evening, after media reports

surfaced about the graffiti.



The next morning, he was ordered to report to

Washington, was interviewed and suspended with pay,

Connolly said.



Collins said his office has worked to have good

relations with Arab Americans.



"This unprofessional conduct by a single agent is a

gross aberration and a great embarrassment," Collins

said.



"I'm glad they discovered who it was, and they'll take

action," Omar Shishani's brother Abdallah Shishani,

44, said Thursday. "I just want to see justice."



Abdallah Shishani and his wife Petimat Magomadova, 35,

were at the house when the federal agents arrived last

week but were taken outside during the search.



"Wow. OK. That's good news," said Hodan Hassan,

spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic

Relations in Washington. "We're pleased with the swift

action on this. I think this goes a long way in

assuring us that as the FBI conducts their

investigation, there will be zero tolerance in regards

to such behavior."



Abdallah Shishani contacted the council, which wrote

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft complaining about

the incident. The group never heard from Ashcroft,

Hassan said.



Imad Hamad, Michigan director of the American-Arab

Anti-Discrimination Committee said: "It's revealed

that bias and hatred does still exist -- even in

elements of law enforcement agencies -- against Arab

Americans, and it's not a product of imagination. . .

. It's going to continue to be a challenge to all of

us."



Contact CECIL ANGEL at 313-223-4531 or

angel@freepress.com.





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