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Federal Agent Admits Slurs, Officials Say

Secret Service: Veteran employee is accused of scrawling anti-Muslim graffiti while searching the home of a smuggling suspect in Michigan.

July 26, 2002|From Associated Press

DETROIT — A Secret Service agent has admitted he scrawled anti-Muslim statements on a prayer calendar during the home search of a man charged with smuggling bogus checks into the United States, authorities said Thursday.

The incident took place when agents searched the Dearborn, Mich., home of Omar Shishani, who has pleaded not guilty to bringing $12 million in forged cashier's checks on a flight from Indonesia.

"This type of unprofessional behavior by a federal agent will not be tolerated," said Jeffrey Collins, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Shishani's brother, Abdallah Shishani, said he and his wife found that "Islam is Evil" and "Christ is King" had been written on the prayer calendar attached to the refrigerator. Abdallah Shishani, 44, and his wife have been staying at the house since Omar Shishani's arrest, baby-sitting the man's 8-year-old twins.

Collins would not identify the agent but said he had been a Secret Service special agent for about 10 years. He was put on leave pending the investigation, and officials said he could be fired and face criminal charges.

"It's outrageous that one of our law enforcers who swears to serve and protect is making religious slurs against individuals," said Omar Shishani's attorney, Nabih Ayad.

The Jordanian-born Shishani was arrested July 17; authorities say they found nine phony cashier's checks in his bags. They also say he later told them he could provide information about terrorism and that the name on the checks might belong to a member of Al Qaeda.

Ayad denied those claims and said his client didn't know the checks were fraudulent. He said Shishani is a broker who was in Indonesia on business.

Shishani is jailed without bond on charges of possessing counterfeit securities and smuggling merchandise into the United States. He faces as much as 15 years in prison if convicted.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights and advocacy group, had asked Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft to investigate the graffiti incident.

"We are pleased with the Secret Service's quick response in initiating an investigation into this matter," spokeswoman Hodan Hassan said.

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