News Release

NYPD: Targeting Muslims, More Revelations of Wrongdoing

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This afternoon the AP revealed: “The New York Police Department recommended increasing surveillance of thousands of Shiite Muslims and their mosques, based solely on their religion, as a way to sweep the Northeast for signs of Iranian terrorists, according to interviews and a newly obtained secret police document. …

“The secret document stands in contrast to statements by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said the NYPD never considers religion in its policing. [Police Commissioner Raymond] Kelly has said police go only where investigative leads take them, but the document described no leads to justify expanded surveillance at Shiite mosques.”

MOHAMMAD ALI NAQUVI, alinaquvi at yahoo.com
Naquvi is a lawyer and community activist who helped draft a statement signed by over 40 groups including the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Arab Muslim American Federation. The statement reads in part: “Through excessive stop and frisk practices, overzealous surveillance measures, and a complete lack of transparency, the NYPD has blatantly violated civil rights and destroyed the trust necessary for effective policing. Such acts of surveillance undermine trust between the Muslim community and the NYPD. These measures are merely the latest in the well-documented history of NYPD’s targeting of communities of color through discriminatory policing practices. … The NYPD should be focused on tracking down actual threats, not targeting innocent Americans for invasive investigations and surveillance.”

SHAHID BUTTAR, media at bordc.org,
Buttar is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He said today: “The NYPD is one of the world’s largest paramilitary organizations, and potentially the single largest lacking any civilian oversight. The Department has established a sordid history of violating the rights of New Yorkers from all walks of life, and sunlight to correct its ongoing abuses is long overdue.”

Buttar adds: “The NYPD’s assault on civil rights has been broad-based, impacting not only Muslims and other residents perceived to be Muslim, but also Latinos and African-Americans targeted by NYPD stop and frisks, for instance, at a rate nine times that of other New Yorkers. Accordingly, civilian oversight of the NYPD could address each of the seemingly separate civil rights issues impacting these various communities.”