SAN FRANCISCO, May 30: Alarmed by a report that mosques in Los Angeles and San Diego are under surveillance, Muslim civil rights groups have called for Congressional hearings on the matter.

The call for public hearings followed a San Diego newspaper report that a group of military reservists and law-enforcement officers at Camp Pendleton Marine base stole data from a federal surveillance programme that monitored mosques in Southern California.

In a joint letter sent to the Congressional Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform, the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, San Diego and Imperial Counties and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California expressed concern over the civil rights violations posed by the alleged monitoring of US citizens on the basis of their religious affiliation.

Samina Faheem Sundas, executive director of the American Muslim Voice, said: “This confirms our fears that mosques and Muslim community organisations are a target of government surveillance that only encourages further unwarranted suspicion of the American Muslim community.”

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