Federal prosecutors in New York recently took over four mosques and a skyscraper owned by a Muslim organization accused of terrorist ties, but the action has drawn heavy criticism from Islamic advocates.
The government’s civil complaint in federal court against the Alavi Foundation accuses it of being controlled by the Iranian government and seeks the confiscation of more than $500 million in assets, according to the Associated Press.
However, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has expressed concern about the government’s actions, suggesting they may have implications for the First Amendment rights of members of the American Muslim community.
"The seizure of American houses of worship could have a chilling effect on the religious freedom of citizens of all faiths and may send a negative message to Muslims worldwide," said CAIR national communications director Ibrahim Hooper.
He also stated that he feared the move could fuel a backlash resulting from the recent shooting spree at the military base at Fort Hood, Texas.
On Nov. 5, a gunman identified as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist and a Muslim, opened fire in the Soldier Readiness Center at the base, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others.