New York Muslims protest police surveillance

3997nypd muslims spying program New York Muslims protest police surveillance

The New York Police Department has been found to spy on Muslims in mosques, restaurants, halalshops, cafes, hookah bars and other public places and has longoutraged potential victims of the surveillance. Whether praying,conversing with friends, or walking down the street, the NYPDdeploys cops that are always watching.The surveillance “has stifled speech, communal life andreligious practice and criminalized a broad segment of AmericanMuslims,” Nermeen Arastu, fund attorney for the Asian AmericanLegal Defense and Education Fund, told the Wall Street Journal.The new report, compiled by the Muslim American Civil LibertiesCoalition and its partners, specifically outlines the effect of theNYPD’s intimidation on New York City Muslims. As a result ofsending spies throughout the city, some Muslims have stoppedtrusting anyone, fearful that something they say or do could landthem in prison.“Undercover Pakistani officers were sent into Pakistanicommunities and Arab-speaking officers were dispatched into theEgyptian community to ‘listen to neighborhood gossip’, and get anoverall ‘feel for the community,’ ” the report says “Theywere instructed to visit schools and interact with business ownersand patrons to ‘gauge sentiment.’”By participating in school field trips and local cricketmatches, undercover cops have crept into the personal lives ofAmerican Muslims, searching for any sign of illegal or terroristintentions. The report, titled “Mapping Muslims”, claims that thefar-reaching extent of the surveillance program has taken a toll onthe Muslim community.“[The NYPD] has repeatedly said that as long as you havenothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” Diala Shamas,co-author of the report, told the Huffington Post. Instead, shesaid the study “shows that there are many disturbing impacts andconsequences of the irresponsible, costly, harmful, completelyineffective surveillance program.”Muslim college groups now forbid any discussion of politics,practicing Muslims have avoided mosques, and others have simplyavoided making any sort of jokes that could be misinterpreted.“People tell me ‘I’ll make mysalaah[prayer] at home.’ Theymention the NYPD camera right outside the mosque as thereason,” Imam Mustapha, a Brooklyn-based religious leader, toldauthors of the report.At some mosques, Muslims no longer trust religious leaders,fearing that they could be reporting to the NYPD.“The relationship of trust and confidentiality between animam and his congregation is no less sacred than that of pastors,rabbis and others, and those of whom they serve,” said ImamAl-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, Maklis Ash-Shura (Islamic LeadershipCouncil) of Metropolitan New York. “The actions of the NYPD havecompromised this sacred relationship… It not only weakens thecapacity of some Muslim religious leaders to serve as advisors insensitive matters, but it also compromises their effectiveness aspartners in the struggle against extremism.”New York City Muslims are afraid of growing beards, wearingtraditional attire, participating in extracurricular activities, ortalking to strangers.The authors conclude the report with a plea to stop thepervasive program, claiming that the policing encouragesdeep-seated mistrust and distrust within the Muslim community.“There’s a lot of collateral damage,” Park SlopeCouncilman Brad Lander told the Huffington Post.The NYPD has so far spent more than $1 billion on theIntelligence Division, which conducts the surveillance program. Butthroughout six years of surveillance, the NYPD has never generateda lead, according to Assistant Chief Thomas Galati.“I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from aDemographics report, and I’m here since 2006,” Galati said in adeposition last June. “I don’t recall other ones prior to myarrival.”

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New York Muslims protest police surveillance

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