Muslim Students Across Northeast Monitored by NYPD

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Common Dreams

Muslim Students Across Northeast Monitored by NYPD

by
Common Dreams staff

This Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 photo shows Jawad Rasul near the City College of New York where he is a student. Rasul's name ended up in a New York Police Department report after an undercover officer accompanied him and other Muslim students on a whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York. The New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

The Associated Press published an investigative report Sunday that details how the New York Police Department spied on Muslim students at colleges all across the northeast, even as far as Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

The AP says that NYPD sent "an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip" to observe the Muslim students who, according to the undercover agents' report, the students "prayed at least four times a day."

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The Associated Press is reporting Sunday:

The New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned.

Police talked with local authorities about professors 300 miles away in Buffalo and even sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students' names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.

Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. [...]

"I see a violation of civil rights here," said Tanweer Haq, chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Syracuse. "Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever. Muslim students want to have their own lives, their own privacy and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that everybody else has."

In recent months, the AP has revealed secret programs the NYPD, built with help from the CIA, to monitor Muslims at the places where they eat, shop and worship. The AP also published details about how police placed undercover officers at Muslim student associations in colleges within the city limits; this revelation has outraged faculty and student groups. [...]

In one report, an undercover officer describes accompanying 18 Muslim students from the City College of New York on a whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York on April 21, 2008. The officer noted the names of attendees who were officers of the Muslim Student Association.

"In addition to the regularly scheduled events (Rafting), the group prayed at least four times a day, and much of the conversation was spent discussing Islam and was religious in nature," the report says.

Praying five times a day is one of the core traditions of Islam.

Jawad Rasul, one of the students on the trip, said he was stunned that his name was included in the police report.

"It forces me to look around wherever I am now," Rasul said. [...]

Another report, entitled "Weekly MSA Report" and dated Nov. 22, 2006, explained that officers from the NYPD's Cyber Intelligence unit visited the websites, blogs and forums of Muslim student associations as a "daily routine."

The universities included Yale; Columbia; the University of Pennsylvania; Syracuse; New York University; Clarkson University; the Newark and New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers; and the State University of New York campuses in Buffalo, Albany, Stony Brook and Potsdam, N.Y.; Queens College, Baruch College, Brooklyn College and La Guardia Community College.

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NYPD MSA Report

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