Episode
October 23, 2019

Is the US government unfairly spying on Muslim Americans?

The newly released documentary "The Feeling of Being Watched" tells all about it.
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On Wednesday, October 23 at 19:30 GMT:
For years, Muslim American families in a Chicago suburb suspected they were being watched by the government. They were right. The community of Bridgeview, Illinois was the subject of one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's largest domestic counter-terrorism probes in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The massive scale of the surveillance is detailed by Assia Boundaoui, a journalist who grew up in Bridgeview, in a newly released film called "The Feeling of Being Watched". In it, Boundaoui details her efforts to obtain the 33,000 documents the FBI produced during their investigation, which was codenamed "Operation Vulgar Betrayal." She ends up successfully suing the US government for the files.

Though it spanned 10 years and cost millions of dollars, "Vulgar Betrayal" yielded no terrorism-related convictions. Officials deny that the operation involved ethnic profiling. But critics say Bridgeview is just another example of the FBI's systemic use of surveillance to intimidate communities of color.

Vulgar Betrayal officially shut down more than a decade ago, but the operation has had a lasting impact on the people of Bridgeview, who continue to suffer from fear, paranoia and self-censorship.

In this episode we ask, Is the US government unfairly spying on Arab Americans? 

On this episode The Stream, we speak with:

Assia Boundaoui @assuss
Director, ‘The Feeling of Being Watched’ 
feelingofbeingwatched.com

Dr. Kameelah Rashad @KameelahRashad 
Founder & President, Muslim Wellness Foundation
muslimwellness.com

Omar Farah @theCCR 
Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
ccrjustice.org


Read more:
The Feeling of Being Watched - PBS
How One American Muslim Woman's Instinct Led to the Uncovering One of the Largest FBI Probes in U.S. History - ColorLines
How one filmmaker is using artificial intelligence to uncover surveillance of her Muslim community in Chicago – The Chicago Reporter

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