Muslim College Students Alarmed by Reports of NYPD Surveillance

Sunday, February 19, 2012

muslim, mosque, protest, anti-muslim, NYPD Muslim rights groups at Foley Square on February 3, 2011 protesting NYPD surveillance of Muslims in the city. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Muslim college students across the region are expressing concern at reports that they were spied on by the New York Police Department.

According to an Associated Press investigation, the NYPD planted informants in Muslim Student Associations at a number of colleges across the city, including Brooklyn College, Queens College, Hunter College and Baruch College. The NYPD also reportedly monitored the activities of MSA's at Columbia University and New York University, as well as colleges outside the city limits, including Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University. The NYPD document can be viewed here.

In one instance, an informant participated in a whitewater rafting trip organized by the MSA at City College and reported back on the number of times that participants prayed during the outing.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne defended the surveillance program, noting that "some of the most dangerous Western al-Qaeda linked/inspired terrorists since 9/11 were radicalized and/or recruited at Muslim Student Associations."

"We were focused on radicalization and/or recruitment specifically by groups like Al Muhajiroun, Islamic Thinkers Society, Revolution Muslim and others," he wrote in an email, adding that MSA alumni included Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "Underwear Bomber," as well as al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in an American drone strike last year.

Aamna Anwer, the vice president of MSA National, said the organization was "extremely concerned and disturbed" by the revelations.

"We support the investigation of legitimate threats to our country, and are surprised that the NYPD unfairly targeted a particular minority group, including going beyond New York's borders, without specific evidence of criminal activity," she wrote.

Waleed Abbasi, a pre-law student at Rutgers, argued that the dozen extremists named by the NYPD were negligible given the "thousands" of law-abiding members of the organization nationwide. And he said that the surveillance program "puts Muslims on the margins of society" by "stereotyping" them.

"The reason I go to school is to better myself, to obtain an education, and to ultimately be able to contribute to this great nation, to this society," Abbasi said. "Those are my intentions — that's it. So, to know that my intentions are being vilified or being assumed to be negative,
solely because of my religious affiliation? That's troubling."

The Rutgers University Muslim Alumni Association has called on university administrators to oppose the NYPD's surveillance program. Calls to Rutgers on Sunday were not returned.


Correction: An earlier version of this article stated it was the Rutgers MSA that called on university officials to oppose the NYPD's surveillance program. It was actually the Rugters University Muslim Alumni Association.


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Comments [1]


I Love New York

We have a controversy; New York and the MSA (Muslim Students Association) are at the center of it. New York law enforcement has been monitoring the MSA as well as Muslim contact points and Mosques. I LOVE NEW YORK!

There are some factoids at play.

1) New York has, by most estimates, the single most effective counter terrorism organization outside of the Federal Government. That is the case simply due to a disregard for political correctness in the interest of safety and security.
2) The MSA was founded by and is a surrogate of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are clearly a radicalized organization.
3) Surveillance of Mosques is the single most effective way to produce leads regarding terror plots. Mosques are at the center of the movement to radicalize Muslims in the United States. Mosques are much more than locations within which to profess the faith. They are the center of politics and law in the Muslim world.
4) ‘Major’ Islamic organizations such as CAIR have aggressively communicated to American Muslims that they are not to cooperate with law enforcement inclusive of our currently politicized FBI.
5) Islamic terrorists have perpetrated 18,453 attacks worldwide since 9/11. In the past week alone there have been 42 Jihad attacks resulting in 171 deaths and 155 critical injuries. Since 9/11 there is an average of five attacks per day. In January alone there were 194 attacks in 19 countries targeting 5 different religions killing 1,145 and critically injuring 1,639 people.

In this context the predictable ‘rage’ over human rights violations will explode. It explodes over much less a story than this, it’s automatic. The typical over reaction when any Muslim is surveiled, interrogated or actually caught engaging in criminal activities is well documented and specific in its intent. It is an appeal to political correctness in an attempt to intimidate the process by insisting that there is always either racism or Islamophobia at play.

The Islamists amongst us valiantly attempt to connect the Civil Rights movement with the ‘challenges’ they face. In this case they complain that they are “marginalized” and “placed on the margins of society by stereotyping.” They claim possibly correctly that the surveillance produced small numbers of extremists. Problem is, that it only takes small numbers of extremists to do massive amounts of damage as we evidenced on 9/11

Feb. 22 2012 02:32 PM

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