Angry Over Spying, Muslims Say: 'Don't Call NYPD'
Muslim community leaders are openly teaching people how to identify police informants, encouraging them to always talk to a lawyer before speaking with the authorities and reminding people already working with law enforcement that they have the right to change their minds. Some members of the community have planned a demonstration for next week.
Some government officials point to this type of outreach as proof that Muslims aren't cooperating in the fight against terrorism, justifying the aggressive spy tactics, while many in the Muslim community view it as a way to protect themselves from getting snared in a secret police effort to catch terrorists.
Don't help and there will not be any flak from your coreligionists. Stay quiet and all will be well.
As a result, one of America's largest Muslim communities — in a city that's been attacked twice and targeted more than a dozen times — is caught in a downward spiral of distrust with the nation's largest police department: The New York City Police Department spies on Muslims, which makes them less likely to trust police. That reinforces the belief that the community is secretive and insular, a key reason that current and former NYPD officials cite for spying in the first place.
The outreach campaign follows an Associated Press investigation that revealed the NYPD had dispatched plainclothes officers to eavesdrop in Muslim communities, often without any evidence of wrongdoing. Restaurants serving Muslims were identified and photographed. Hundreds of mosques were investigated, and dozens were infiltrated. Police used the information to build ethnic databases on daily life inside Muslim neighborhoods.
Many of these programs were developed with the help of the CIA.
At a recent "Know Your Rights" session for Brooklyn College students, someone asked why Muslims who don't have anything to hide should avoid talking to police.
"Most of the time it's a fishing expedition," answered Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York, who supervises an advocacy organization that does such community presentations. "So the safest thing you can do for yourself, your family, and for your community is not to answer."
A fishing expedition to uncover planned and in process jihad attacks is wrong, Muslims are victims and we can all go home now because there is nothing to see.
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