Muslim Student: I Met Alleged NYPD Undercover on Trip

Tuesday, February 21, 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)

A former City College student who said he and fellow Muslim students were spied on by an undercover officer posing as their peer – including during a whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York — told WNYC on Tuesday that he had the alleged NYPD plant in his car.

Jawad Rasul, a former student at City College, was among 18 Muslim students who took a whitewater rafting trip in April 2008 in upstate New York.

He said he recalled picking up one of the students at a train station and driving him to the group’s meeting place but didn’t know the man was an undercover police officer until he recently got a call from an AP reporter.

“It just brought everything home when he told me, 'Your name is here and it says that the undercover officer was in your car,'” Rasul said Tuesday on WNYC’s The Takeaway.

The NYPD had been monitoring Muslim student groups at colleges across the Northeast, including the City University of New York, Yale and Rutgers University, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. The AP reports that police not only infiltrated the groups, but also monitored their online activity daily.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city's practice of monitoring Muslim students at colleges throughout the region during a press conference Tuesday. The mayor said the monitoring is necessary "to make this country safe."

There is precedent for the NYPD actively surveying specific communities — including groups in the 1970s and 1980s suspected of associations with the Jewish Defense League, Irish Republican Army and Puerto Rican separatists, according to Bloomberg's spokesman, Stu Loeser.

Police 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. He said alumni of Muslim student organizations include Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "Underwear Bomber," and al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in an American drone strike last year.

Browne said the department monitored the Web sites of Muslim student associations in 2006 and 2007. But the AP reports the documents show the agency continued its surveillance for years afterward.

“If you were posting and you were active, you were written into these intelligence files that were addressed directly to [Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly,” said AP reporter Matt Apuzzo on The Takeaway.

Rasul is an American citizen and says tactics like these from the police department could cause more harm than good.

“I think that’s completely incorrect,” he said, “because when we find out these things -- that we were under surveillance and being watched and all of these things -- it actually creates a lot more hatred if anything.”


Meanwhile, Muslim student associations at several New Jersey universities are asking the New York Attorney General to investigate the police department’s surveillance program. And Yale University president Richard Levin called the NYPD’s actions, “antithetical to the values" of the university and the country and says the school’s police department was not involved.

With reporting from Fred Mogul and the Associated Press


More in:

Comments [5]


Hey, Travis, it's also a slow brain day, huh? Well, I guess you probably aren't the only one who missed the point. But it's rather shallow on your part to compare a Muslim Student Group with the likes of the KKK and motorcycle gangs.
It also sounds like you have the inside scoop on religious student groups, although you only repeated what the article previously said. Nonetheless, I wonder how many Catholic and Protesant student groups they went undercover on, huh? Well, that is part of the issue here, along with other implications.
'Mark' made a useful comment above, the fact that radical recruitment of individuals is not going on in the more tolerant sects over here in the U.S. Plus, you must juxtapose the 'cost' of what you do, be it literal or figurative, with the results you achieve.
Travis, I'll let you post the long list of criminals that we've captured while they were whitewater rafting with Muslim student groups. No doubt, there are radical individuals everywhere in our world and at all the times of our American history, but it's a waste of resources to go about trying to find them in such a manner as the article has portrayed.
Travis, it would be wise to read a little about incidents in our past when governmental authorities (and/or state run security forces; and/or individual political officials) usurped the powers of American freedom for its citizens and used in an attempt to dictate what people can or cannot do. 'McCarthyism' comes to mind, which was during the post WWII Communist scare. Bogus FBI files on many Americans during various cultural movements in our past is another. In 1957, for example, when Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus used the state's National Guard in 'support' of segregation and had soldiers blocking the steps of a public school.
Read up, Travis, read up.

Feb. 21 2012 07:54 PM

So now the tax payers are paying for cops to go on whitewater rafting trips in the name of security, haha. I wonder if the undercover got overtime?

I went to a school with a lot of muslims and the MSA was mostly American kids who grew up here and just want to meet other muslims. The couple times I did hear anybody say something a little extreme sounding it was a guy who basically just got off a plane from Pakistan to do an engineering degree and was not involved with MSA at all. So I think focusing on MSAs would just be a distraction from the guys going back and forth to South Asia who are exposed to the real extreme stuff back in their hometown.

Feb. 21 2012 04:41 PM
LMBO from america

muslims should make more babies...

Feb. 21 2012 03:25 PM

The police also monitor and infiltrate many organizations that disproportionately spawn crime and terrorism. They infiltrate motorcycle gangs, KKK groups, and many other types. It's widely and accurately reported that terrorists target religious student groups for recruitment. Our military does the same thing. Slow news day, huh?

Feb. 21 2012 12:37 PM
Ali from New York

We live in a country where citizens are not all equal! It's really sad to have no regards to our constitutional rights.

Feb. 21 2012 12:01 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by