On NYPD Surveillance, MPAC Works in Coalition with DOJ, Federal Agencies, MSAs, Mayors Offices & LAPD

Letter Sent to Attorney General Calls for Immediate Investigation

February 24, 2012

(Los Angeles – 2/24/12) -- Today, the Muslim Public Affairs Council held a press conference with MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC Senior Adviser Dr. Maher Hathout, Deputy Chief of LAPD Mike Downing and Deputy Mayor Eileen Decker about the importance of community engagement to stop crime instead of surveillance of Muslims. 

"There is no reason for us to survey Muslim students or where people buy their meat; that is not suspicious to us. That is how someone lives their life,” Downing said. “We are not going to beat crime by fighting in the street. It's through engagement with the community. Neither [LAPD] Chief Beck nor I are hiding anything. We are not going to survey people unless there is a nexus to criminality.”

Decker reiterated Downing's sentiments, adding that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa “firmly believes the correct policy should be focused on action and not on one’s religion, beliefs or ethnic origin.”

Today’s press conference comes on the heels of statements of support for the Muslim community from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

NYPD's Extended Jurisdiction Is Abuse of Power

An Associated Press investigation found that the New York Police Department has been conducting widespread spying on citizens based solely on their religion and without any apparent evidence of criminal activity. This week, they reported that undercover officers were assigned to go into Muslim-dominated neighborhoods and monitor their daily affairs. 

Three reports (Newark, Nassau and Suffolk) released earlier this week also revealed that the NYPD spied on Muslims in New Jersey.

MPAC-NYC released a statement today expressing its shock that NYPD’s surveillance had extended beyond its jurisdiction and the need for an immediate investigation into this blatant abuse of power.

Muslim Students Also Fall Under Surveillance

The latest report follows news that at least 16 Muslim Student Associations (MSAs) at universities across the Northeast were monitored by undercover agents, even as they engaged in social activities such as whitewater rafting.

MPAC is currently working with MSA National leaders as the students deal with the reality of intrusion and surveillance.

“Without providing a shred of evidence indicating any activity posing a threat to public safety, the NYPD has grossly criminalized a community of youth seeking to explore their identities and pursue a better future for themselves,” said Alejandro J. Beutel, MPAC Government and Policy Analyst and former MSA President at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.

Letter to Attorney Genaral Calls for Immediate Investigation

Continued revelations of NYPD’s abuse of power are alarming at best and demand an investigation by the federal government. MPAC sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Thomas Perez.

The letter states:

“We are asking for an immediate investigation into the civil rights implications of this particular matter. We hope you take these issues as a priority for the federal government. Your leadership can help resolve this conflict emanating from New York City, where the attacks on the Twin Towers over 10 years ago have left a wound on our country that has been unfortunately re-injured by divisiveness and opportunism in some sectors of our society, namely in the media, in politics and in law enforcement.” 


Recent Study Proves Muslims Are Not a Threat

The sad truth is that all these revelations come in the wake of a study conducted by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS) that contrary to popular belief homegrown terrorism by Muslims in the United States is not a threat.

The report, “Muslim American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11,” concluded that in 2011, “Muslim American terrorist plots led to no fatalities in the United States, and the year’s four indictments for terrorist financing indictments involved relatively small amounts of money.”
Moreover, the study noted that in 2011, the number of violent plots of terrorism over the last ten years and the number of those who have been convicted or indicted for supporting terrorism have both dropped. This conclusion falls in line with the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s report, “Post-9/11 Terrorism Incident Database” which concludes:

  • Since 9/11, only 44 percent of suspects publicly associated with terrorism were prosecuted under terrorism or national security statute.
  • Evidence clearly indicates a general rise in violent extremism across ideologies, but
  • There is little evidence of rising ideological extremism among Muslim Americans.

“The clearest threat to America is extremism and the resulting division of American cohesion,” Al-Marayati said. “There is not currently a discourse of these issues at the national level and this lack of discourse causes fear. This is why L.A. has such partnerships to deal with these challenges. The NYPD model promotes a model of being buried in departments and not engaging with communities. L.A.’s open model is the best mechanism.”

blog comments powered by Disqus

Help us continue our work with a quick
one-time or monthly donation.