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Overlooked History: Islam, Warrantless Wiretaps, and Organized Violence

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by Jeffrey Breinholt
Published on July 27th, 2007

As a legal researcher, I am constantly amazed at how many modern issues we think are unique to our time have been debated in the past and are discussed in old American court opinions. A few years ago, I wrote a law review article which described this phenomenon in relation to the then-hot debates on the USA PATRIOT Act. In it, I argued that the very same points then being made by critics of American counterterrorism efforts had been tried (and resolved) non-stop over the past 50 years, and that these critics should visit the law library before throwing around such words as "unprecedented." Lately, in the course of my ongoing research on Islam in the U.S. courts, I stumbled on another set of cases that demonstrate this dynamic. These cases involve whether Islam is, doctrinally, a religion of peace, and the implications and consequences of warrantless wiretapping by the FBI. Sound familiar?

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