FBI Invited to Local Islamic Center
"Try and deal with some of the perception issues and break down any of the barriers that may exist to having a better relationship with this segment of the community," said Special Agent Richard Thornton, who called the center last month to talk with Muslims about how other mid-Missourians perceive them and their faith.
"We're starting to see a rise in crimes, hate speech on the radio, things of that nature," said discussion participant Corey Brand.
In 2004, the FBI raided a nearby Islamic charity because agents said it had terrorist connections. That investigation continues.
Now, the center is pleased the FBI is taking time to talk to Muslims.
"I've really enjoyed meeting Mr. Thornton," said discussion participant Ahmed Habib. "And, hopefully, this is one of many meetings in the future between the Muslim community and the FBI."
Friday night's discussion was part of a nationwide effort to increase communication between the FBI and Muslims.