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Police Spying On Mosques

Blanket surveillance of Muslims has landed the NYPD in hot water. We’ll investigate.

Ismael el-Shikh stands in a prayer room at the Islamic Culture Center in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Americans in New Jersey's largest city were subjected to surveillance as part of the New York Police Department's effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray. (AP)

Ismael el-Shikh stands in a prayer room at the Islamic Culture Center in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Americans in New Jersey's largest city were subjected to surveillance as part of the New York Police Department's effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray. (AP)

New York took the biggest hit on 9/11. The New York City Police Department made the biggest response. Brought in big guns from the CIA. Pumped up surveillance all over. Launched a big campaign, deep and wide, to look in on its Muslim population.

For a while it won praise. Now people are wondering if the NYPD has gone too far. Maybe way too far. Spying on mosques. In mosques. Sweeping up worshipper license plates. Tracking Muslim students. Surveilling with a very broad brush. Well beyond New York.

This hour, On Point: How much is too much policing?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christopher Dickey, is the author of six books, including Securing the City: Inside America’s Best Counterterror Force—the NYPD.

Jethro Eisenstein, a New York lawyer who has filed suit against the city for the police department’s investigatory procedures.

Haroon Moghul, fellow at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He was the director of public relations for the Islamic Center at New York University from 2007-2009.

From Tom’s Reading List

Associated Press “The New York Police Department targeted Muslim mosques with tactics normally reserved for criminal organizations, according to newly obtained police documents that showed police collecting the license plates of worshippers, monitoring them on surveillance cameras and cataloging sermons through a network of informants.”

Washington Post “In New York, thousands of miles away, it was a different story. At the Masjid Al-Falah in Queens, one leader condemned the cartoons but said Muslims should not resort to violence. Speaking at the Masjid Dawudi mosque in Brooklyn, another called on Muslims to speak out against the cartoons, but peacefully.”

Propublica “The report mapped so-called Locations of Concern in Newark, which were defined to include “Localized center[s] of activity for a particular ethnic group.” The only ethnic groups that are highlighted in the report are those that include Muslims. The report noted that the city’s “largest immigrant communities … are from Portugal and Brazil” but that “No Muslim component within these communities was identified.””

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