The NYPD has once again proved that it is just not willing to accept that being Muslim does not mean you should be suspected of terrorism.
New documents gathered and released by the Associated Press show that the NYPD went out of their jurisdiction to spy on Islamic communities in Newark, New Jersey in mid-2007.
Officers engaged in eavesdropping activities in areas visited predominantly by Muslims, such as mosques and Muslin-owned restaurants.
The reports indicate a collaboration of the NYPD with Newark authorities; however Newark's Mayor Corey Booker claims he did not know of the surveillance saying: "Wow... This raises a number of concerns.
It's just very, very sobering. We're going to get to the bottom of this," when approached by reporters. His office has launched an investigation since the release of these documents.
The documents cited known acts of terrorism and instead focused on the nationalities of those who own stores and operated in mosques in these communities.
As reported by the Associated Press:
Police conducted similar operations outside their jurisdiction in New York's Suffolk and Nassau counties on suburban Long Island, according to police records.
Dozens of mosques and student groups have been infiltrated and police have built detailed profiles of ethnic communities, from Moroccans to Egyptians to Albanians.
The documents obtained by the AP show, for the first time in any detail, how those efforts stretched outside the NYPD's jurisdiction.
"All of these are innocent people," Nagiba el-Sioufi of Newark said while her husband, Mohammed, flipped through the NYPD report, looking at photos of mosques and storefronts frequented by their friends.
Egyptian immigrants and American citizens, the couple raised two daughters in the United States.
Mohammed works as an accountant and is vice president of the Islamic Culture Center, a mosque a few blocks from Newark City Hall.
"If you have an accusation on us, then spend the money on doing this to us," Nagiba said. "But you have no accusation."
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not return a message seeking comment about the report.
Former Newark Police Chief Garry McCarthy, who is now in charge of the Chicago Police Department, also did not return messages left on his cell phone and with a press aide.
The goal of the report, like others the Demographics Unit compiled, was to give police at-their-fingertips access to information about Muslim neighborhoods.
If police got a tip about an Egyptian terrorist in the area, for instance, they wanted to immediately know where he was likely to find a cheap room to rent, where he might buy his lunch and at what mosque he probably would attend Friday prayers.
It's really a shame that the NYPD is resorting to these tactics in the name of countering terrorism.
It is completely unjust to suspect a group of a particular crime simply on the basis of religion.
Below is a link to the document that contains the NYPD reports.
Newark, N.J.: http://apne.ws/wBk7Hg