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NYPD Snooping on Muslims Contradicts Bloomberg Claims

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Posted on Feb 23, 2012
AP / Charles Dharapak

A prayer rug hangs over a chalkboard at the Islamic Cultural Center in Newark, N.J.

By Justin Elliott, ProPublica

This piece originally appeared at ProPublica.

The Associated Press published a story Feb. 22 detailing how, in 2007, undercover New York Police Department officers investigated the Muslim community in Newark, N.J., producing a secret report profiling mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim-owned businesses and restaurants.

The story, based on a copy of the 60-page report obtained by AP, concludes that the surveillance project was undertaken despite “no evidence of terrorism or criminal behavior. It was a guide to Newark’s Muslims.”

Besides being significant on its own, that conclusion contradicts claims by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg last year about how the NYPD operates.

In August, after AP published the first story in its series documenting the NYPD’s extensive surveillance and investigation of Muslims, Bloomberg denied that the NYPD launched investigations based on religion in the absence of suspicion of a crime.

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“If there are threats or leads to follow, then the NYPD’s job is to do it. The law is pretty clear about what’s the requirement, and I think they follow the law,” Bloomberg said at an Aug. 25 news conference, the local news site DNAInfo noted at the time. “We don’t stop to think about the religion. We stop to think about the threats and focus our efforts there.”

In October, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly made similar comments under questioning from the city council.

“We simply follow leads,” Kelly said. “Now, those leads may take us into religious institutions; it may be people in a particular religion. But we’re going to follow those leads wherever they take us. We’re not going to be deterred, but we’re certainly not singling out any particular group.”

AP’s previous stories showed the NYPD scrutinized Muslim communities in part based on ethnicity. Today’s story, as well as others earlier this month, showed the NYPD focusing solely on religion.

The secret dossier on Newark published by AP shows the NYPD both thinking about religion and singling out a particular group in the apparent absence of any leads.

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.”

Bloomberg’s press office did not respond to our request for comment about the mayor’s August remarks and the new AP report. The NYPD also did not respond to our request for comment; nor did it comment on the AP’s story.

The report includes multiple maps marking mosques and Islamic schools in Newark like this one:

   


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By Big B, February 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

What, the police state is violating the civil libertys of brown people again?

“Gambling going on here at Ricks? I am shocked I tell you, shocked!”

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 24, 2012 at 3:34 am Link to this comment

AS,

You make a good point that most of the 1% are zionists.

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, February 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Bloomberg’s beef against Muslims is understandably based on two important factors:

1. That he is a Zionist who considers Muslims in general and Arab Muslims in particular the eternal enemies of Zionism. So in a sense, he is serving the interests of Zionism even if it goes against the interests of America, its laws and image.

2. He is among the 1% of dirty rich Americans, who are against the interests of the 99% struggling to make a decent living. And most Muslims in America, though working doubly hard to prove their Americanism, fall mostly under the disadvantaged poor and lower middle class, who must be exploited for the advantage of the 1% dirty rich.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

I hope they are also snooping on the next wave of Israeli art students as well or haven’t they learned their lesson.

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