Friday, December 30, 2011

NYPD Monitoring Prompts NY Muslim Leaders To Boycott Bloomberg's Interfaith Breakfast

Apparently at the end of every year, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosts a breakfast where leaders of all the various religious faiths are invited to chow down.  But this year, some Muslim imams  said 'no way' because the New York police department has been poking around their neighbourhoods and mosques, incognito, and they're pretty darn miffed about the attempts at monitoring their community.  I guess they don't quite seem to understand that since they are failing to keep tabs on the radicals in their midst (and there have been plenty), someone's got to do it.

And they're pissed at Bloomberg because rather than tell the NYPD- "naughty boys", he has actually defended their actions. Now, according to Stu Loeser (Bloomberg spokesman) it's only about a dozen or so who are actually boycotting the breakfast, and a "couple dozen" have RSVPd yes, but a few dozen actually sent Bloomberg a missive stating that what the NYPD is doing

“threaten the rights of all Americans, and deepen mistrust between our communities and law enforcement.” “Mayor Bloomberg, the extent of these civil rights violations is astonishing, yet instead of calling for accountability and the rule of law, you have thus far defended the NYPD’s misconduct.”

 “We believe it is unequivocally wrong and fundamentally misguided to invest law enforcement resources in religious or racial profiling, rather than investigating suspicious activity."“We seek your clear, unambiguous, public support for the rights and privacy of all New Yorkers, including Muslims; and a condemnation of all policies that profile and target communities and community groups solely based on their religion or the color of their skin.” “We are deeply disturbed that to date we have only heard your words of strong support for these troubling policies and violations of our rights. We are equally disturbed by (police Commissioner Raymond) Kelly’s denials of what we know to be true as verified by the leaked documents.”

This is what has angered them:

The stories [by the AP] disclosed that a team of 16 police officers speaking at least five languages was assigned to use census information and government databases to map ethnic neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Documents reviewed by the AP revealed that undercover police officers known as rakers visited local businesses such as Islamic bookstores and cafes, chatting up store owners to determine their ethnicities and gauge their views. They played cricket and eavesdropped in ethnic cafes and clubs. The stories also revealed that one of the CIA’s most experienced clandestine operatives began working inside the police department in July as the special assistant to the deputy commissioner of intelligence. The CIA is prohibited from spying domestically. Its unusual partnership with the NYPD has troubled top lawmakers and prompted an internal investigation. Bloomberg in October defended the arrangement, saying it was necessary in a dangerous world. “There are people trying to kill us,” he said. “And if the CIA can help us I’m all for getting any information they have and then letting the police department use it as — if it’s appropriate to protect you and to protect me.”

In another time and another pre-9/11 world I might have agreed about threatened rights, but in light of the fact that some mosques in this country have produced the likes of Anwar al-Awlaki, Major Nidal Hassan, Najibullah Zazi and Burhan Assan, that has changed.  Granted, there are those who have willingly turned over information about radicals in their midst, but not nearly enough.

Amen, Bloomberg! I feel a lot safer knowing that we are keeping tabs on potential homegrown terrorists.

No comments: