Exaggerated Threats

In response to the Chicago Tribune article: "FBI: Sears Tower targeted" Friday’s front page article “FBI: Sears Tower Targeted” (June 23) displays several examples of negative stereotypes against Muslims and alarmist reporting.

While I commend the FBI and local law enforcement for guarding against terrorist threats, and support the Tribune in covering such events, this specific event has been blown out of proportion and riddled with false evidence of terrorism.

According to the senior law-enforcement officials quoted in the story, these gentlemen had no means of carrying out any attack and neither Miami nor Chicago ever faced a real threat. While harboring aspirations of carrying out an attack and cooperating with an FBI informant posing as an al-Qaeda operative is concerning, the article offers little real evidence of these accusations. Instead, the author quotes Miami residents speaking of the group’s clothing, exercise, and refreshment choices—hardly evidence of terrorism.

The fact that the men “would cover their faces…they would be wear things on their heads, like turbans,” as Mr. Benjamin Williams is quoted, does not speak to any violent tendencies, nor does the report that “They sold shampoo and hair grease on the street” as another unnamed area resident offered.

This information does not qualify as news and only serves to present stereotypes of minority groups. The article quotes another law-enforcement official stating that the group wished to raise an “Islamic army,” but later in the article, Brother Corey, a man claiming to speak on behalf of the group suggests this term was used in a spiritual and not militaristic sense.

I urge the Tribune speak with clarity and limit their commentary to relevant issues, not irreverent cultural practices or personal preferences.