For Immediate Release
CAIR Calls for Hearings on NYPD Targeting of Shia Mosques
WASHINGTON - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today called for hearings in that state's legislature to investigate new revelations that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) initiated a program of spying on Shia mosques without warrants and without any evidence of wrongdoing by worshipers.
CAIR-NY cited a secret NYPD document, titled "US-Iran Conflict: The Threat to New York City" and revealed by The Associated Press (AP), that "recommended increasing surveillance of thousands of Shiite Muslims and their mosques, based solely on their religion." According to AP, none of the targeted mosques had been linked to terrorism by the NYPD or by federal agencies.
AP's report also states:
"The NYPD is prohibited under its own guidelines and city law from basing its investigations on religion. Under FBI guidelines, which the NYPD says it follows, many of the recommendations in the police document would be prohibited. ... The secret document stands in contrast to statements by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said the NYPD never considers religion in its policing. Kelly has said police go only where investigative leads take them, but the document described no leads to justify expanded surveillance at Shiite mosques."
"We are beginning to wonder whether NYPD officials believe American Muslims have any constitutional rights that need be respected," said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick. "Each new revelation of NYPD targeting of the Muslim community without evidence of wrongdoing paints a picture of a department that has little regard for legal prohibitions on ethnic and religious profiling."
McGoldrick said New York Muslims will rally tomorrow following their Friday congregational prayers to protest the NYPD's targeting of their community.
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A series of recent investigative reports by AP revealed that undercover NYPD officers in a so-called "Demographics Unit" spied on Muslim communities and houses of worship with the assistance of individuals linked to the CIA. NYPD officials initially denied the Demographics Unit existed, despite the AP's publication of an NYPD presentation and other documents that described the mission and makeup of the unit.
Reports indicate that the NYPD even spied on Muslim leaders who figured prominently in community outreach efforts, and infiltrated Muslim student groups not suspected of committing any crime.
CAIR-NY -- along with the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) and other minority and civil liberties groups -- recently called for the resignations of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne due to revelations that they covered up their roles in the production of the anti-Islam propaganda film "The Third Jihad" that was shown to almost 1500 NYPD officers.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.