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NYC Muslim communities devastated by police surveillance project

NYC Muslim communities devastated by police surveillance project

The New York Police Department has released a report that states surveillance of Muslims has negatively impacted almost every part of their lives.

According to a report filed by The Raw Story, CLEAR project Liman Fellow Diala Shamas stated,

This report provides a powerful rebuttal to the NYPD and its supporters’ assertion that surveillance is harmless and victimless. It is a first-of-its kind opportunity to hear directly from affected community members, many of whom would only speak with us on condition of strict anonymity.” 

A surveillance program was launched in 2001 by the New York City Police Department in response to the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11. The report revealed that the rights of Muslims were routinely trampled, and nothing leading to terrorist activities were uncovered.

A total of fifty-seven Muslims living in New York City were the targets of the surveillance. Citing a story filed by the Associated Press, allegations against the NYPD include,

suppressing religious freedom, freedom of speech, creating strife within communities, and harming trust of law enforcement officials.” 

According to the report, the program caused many Muslims to cut back on involvement with their mosques, with many refraining from attending their houses of worship, altogether. Additionally, individuals who were new to congregations were looked upon with suspicion of being police informants.

In one case, an Imam reported that congregants ceased attending worship services due to a camera placed outside their mosque by the NYPD. Other results of the surveillance included a decline in Muslims involving themselves in politics.

Jeanne Theoharis, a Professor at Brooklyn College, stated

If you don’t have a comfortable place in class and with other students to say or try ideas out, say what might be considered ‘radical’ things, to draw parallels comfortably, and to get inside of ideas, you’ve lost one of the most important aspects of colleges. That’s devastating. Both in terms of Muslim students being able to think through things, but also devastating because the range of discussion in class is diminished,”

The report that revealed this information was compiled by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project.

It should be noted that these Muslims were American Citizens.

For more information, relevant links and commentary, please read the story at Raw Story.

About Al Stefanelli

Al is a retired author, writer and journalist. His books include "Free Thoughts - A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist" and "A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth." Al began writing in 1985, starting with the New York Times. In 1993 he joined a McClatchy newspaper, writing a weekly column for ten years. His writing continues to be widely distributed on the Internet and in print. He also produced and hosted a weekly syndicated radio broadcast from 1995 to 1998, and his work won a North Carolina Journalism award in 1998. Al is the former Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc., and served on the Board of Directors for "The Clergy Project." He is also a former Southern Baptist Pastor, having served two churches and as pulpit supply for three counties. Currently, he writes part time for The God Discussion, co-hosts the Internet radio programs, "The God Discussion Show" and "Reap Sow Radio." Al lives in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, GA.
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  • Guest

    57 Muslims were impacted by this surveillance; over 3,000 Americans were impacted on 9/11.

    • I'd say that the whole country was affected by 9/11, Muslims and the rest of America alike. Muslim especially have been targeted for being Muslim, which continues a "fine" American tradition of picking a group to hate and hating them exclusively.

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