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.