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Zazi case: How far should FBI go in tracking Muslims?

Muslim groups say the surveillance techniques authorized by the Patriot Act and credited with helping nab alleged New York bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi are alienating potential allies against terrorism.

Children play in the driveway as federal agents leave after searching the home of Najibullah Zazi's aunt Rabia Zazi in Aurora, Colo., on Sept. 16.

Ed Andrieski/AP

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Three arrests in three separate terror cases last week bolster the Obama administration's call to renew the most far reaching provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which give federal agents great latitude when spying on potential suspects.

Yet they also highlight a growing unease within America's Muslim community. For all their apparent success, the surveillance measures are overly intrusive, Muslim groups say, undermining the integration of an overwhelmingly law-abiding community.

"Almost everyone I know has been interviewed or knows someone has been interviewed by the FBI," says Edina Lekovic, communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

At a time when arrests in Denver, Springfield, Ill., and Dallas are revealing intimate details about the threat of domestic terrorism, however, such tactics are often the subject of praise, not scorn.

"All the layers of defense President Bush set up after Sept. 11 are working. The FBI is working more closely with local police, the Patriot Act, which allows roving wiretaps ... is essential," Rep. Peter King (R) of New York told Fox News Monday.


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