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American-Sikhs patriotic: FBI chief

February 18, 2004 11:10 IST

Sikhs, Arabs and Muslims in America are 99.9 per cent patriotic, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S Mueller.

"Since September 11, we have had substantial assistance and cooperation from the Muslim-American community, the Arab-American community, and the Sikh-American community within the US," he said during an appearance at the Foreign Press Centre in Washington, DC to discuss 'Combating Global Terrorism and Crime'.

"And for that all of us are tremendously thankful," he said, and added, "special agents in charge around the country meet often with the leaders" of these communities. "I periodically meet with the leadership here in Washington."

He acknowledged that in the wake of 9/11 these communities had been targeted by "some in the United States" who wanted to "take individual retribution" against some of its members. "We immediately sent word out to our special agents in charge to be alert to any such charges and to immediately follow-up and investigate them thoroughly and aggressively."

Mueller said the FBI had reached out to these communities "to make certain that we were immediately alerted to any such occurrences".

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC