WASHINGTON (AFP) - When a cordial exchange of emails with an FBI agent turned into a request to inform on other Muslims on campus, a Michigan college student was shocked. When I got the email, I was angry; I was upset ... and I never got back to him, the student told AFP, requesting anonymity because of her pending immigration status. We were initially contacted on the basis of building bridges. No wonder the Muslim community doesnt trust the FBI. In one email, a copy of which was seen by AFP, the FBI agent told the student he had contacted her because we want to have the ability to reach out to people like you should the need arise in the future. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reached out to Muslim leaders and institutions, promising to investigate a spate of hate crimes directed at Muslims, while community leaders vowed to warn of any suspicious activity. But those fragile links have frayed. At issue are allegations that the FBI infiltrated and put several popular mosques and prominent Muslims under surveillance, and used egregious tactics to investigate possible unlawful activities. Michigan immigration and civil rights lawyer Nabih Ayad said the FBI has deliberately targeted Muslim immigrants. Roughly two-thirds of Muslims, who now account for about 0.6pc of the US adult population, are immigrants, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Immigrants are always an easy target for the FBI, because they know they may need them in the future. The quid pro quo, the something for something, is that they help them out and in return, they either lessen their sentence of they keep them from being deported, he said. The incidents have not been restricted to immigrants alone. Zakariya Reed, a US citizen who converted to Islam about 10 years ago, said when he turned to the FBI for help over trouble he was experiencing at border crossings each time he returned from visiting relatives in Canada, agents instead asked him to spy on the Muslim community. It was a fishing expedition on their part, said Reed, a firefighter and first Gulf War veteran with the Ohio Air National Guard. This is insane, this is absolutely insane. We have nothing to tell you, he recalled telling the agents. FBI community outreach unit chief Brett Hovington acknowledged the approach of some agents on the ground is causing problems, both internally and its resonating in the community. But the FBI, he said, was working on issuing guidelines to distinguish between the operational and community engagement aspects of the agencys work. The often-intimidating tactics used by agents have fanned long-held fears by Muslims that they are being singled out because of their religion. That, community leaders warned, is also bad news for the FBI. When people feel alienated, when they feel under siege, when they feel anything they say will be used against them, they may be more reluctant to come forward, said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the countrys biggest Muslim civil rights groups. Muslim leaders were also angered by revelations that the FBI had sent an informant to a mosque in California to obtain evidence on alleged rhetoric and acts by a man who prayed there. What happened in southern California was the last straw that broke the camels back, said Agha Saeed, Chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections. Its thoroughly disrespectful. Its also a violation of human rights ... Not only are we being targeted but targeting has increased. Hovington insisted the agency does not have a campaign to infiltrate mosques. But its just like any place else, if there is a reason for us to be there, which comes down to the protection of the country, we will be there, he added. And he noted: Our informants and sources are not always the most outstanding members of society. Thats the nature of the beast.