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NYPD ‘Monitoring’ Focused on Muslims

And Bloomberg’s super-weak defense

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It’s past time I highlighted the incredible, and now Polk Award-winning, reporting of the Associated Press’ Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, as well as Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan, who over the past several months have systematically revealed that the New York Police Department gathered intelligence on Muslim communities in and around New York City with painfully little regard for whether there were any indications that these individuals and groups were likely to be harboring terrorists—other than their ethnicity or religion. To take just one memorable example: The NYPD requested information on every Pakistani cab driver in New York. If all this sounds illegal, that’s because had it been the federal government it probably would have been (and indeed, the CIA’s reported involvement raises just one of many thorny questions). There is a “Jewish angle,” so to speak: In once instance, the NYPD monitored Persian Jews in Long Island, just to be on the safe side. But surely Jews can identify with another religious minority being spied on by the people supposed to protect them precisely because of the way they pray to God? I strongly urge everyone even to browse the dozens of articles the AP has published continuing to drive this story.

The latest revelation, earlier this week, is that the NYPD was “monitoring” Muslim students at Columbia, Yale, Syracuse, the University of Pennsylvania, and elsewhere in the northeast. (Tablet contributor David Fine has an excellent op-ed on the subject in the Columbia Spectator: “I was appalled that a fellow student would hold such views,” he writes of one student who defended terrorist tactics, “but I would have been more appalled if that student had left her ideas unexpressed for fear of being filed away as a potential threat by the NYPD.”) At a press conference yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg’s Press Secretary Stu Loeser, compared the NYPD’s actions to earlier such programs that involved watching the Jewish Defense League and groups affiliated with the Irish Republican Army. But of course, the JDL and the IRA were—with some room for nuance—terrorist groups (hell, the JDL may have killed 2pac!). The groups the NYPD has recently been spying on are … just Muslims. Muslims in the land of the free.

Highlights of AP’s Probe Into NYPD Intelligence Operations [AP]
Speak Now for Peace [Columbia Spectator]
Bloomberg Blasts Questions from the Yale President [Capital]

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Bill Pearlman says:

Give me a break. Who should they look at, Mormons. How about this Marc. We follow your advice. when there is another terrorist attack you go to the victims families and explain to them that you personally killed their relatives. Because that’s what it would be.

FreeThinker says:

One of the groups the NYPD was spying one was the Muslim Student Association (MSA), which is a nationwide group founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. There have been several terrorists who have come out of MSAs in the US:

Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who served as MSA national president in 1982 and 1983, is serving a 23-year prison sentence for his international terrorist activities. In 2005, the Treasury Department called his arrest “a severe blow to al-Qaeda, as Alamoudi had a close relationship with al-Qaeda and raised money for al Qaeda in the United States.”

Aafia Siddiqui was convicted in February of the attempted murder of a U.S. Army captain while she was incarcerated and being interrogated at a prison in Afghanistan. Siddiqui was active in the MSA while attending MIT. According to a 2005 story in Vogue, Siddiqui authored a guide published by the national MSA organization encouraging members not to water down Islamic doctrine on issues such as jihad.

Ali Asad Chandia, convicted of terror charges as part of the Northern Virginia jihad network, was president of the Montgomery College (Maryland) MSA. He is serving a 15-year prison sentence.

Al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, currently the U.S. government’s most wanted terrorist, served as chaplain for George Washington University’s MSA.

Wa’el Hamza Julaidan, former president of the University of Arizona MSA, was one of al-Qaida’s co-founders and its logistics boss.

From the investigative project on terrorism.

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NYPD ‘Monitoring’ Focused on Muslims

And Bloomberg’s super-weak defense

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