The New York Police Dept. is facing accusations of monitoring Muslim student associations at 16 college campuses in the northeastern United States after the Associated Press exposed documents revealing the investigations carried out as early as 2006.
NYPD reports include details about the race and ethnicity of examined Muslim community members in a 60-page report on the activities of Muslim communities and mosques in Newark, New Jersey, in addition to routine weekly updates on Muslim student groups. The reports list the occupations, residencies, hobbies and other personal details of Muslim campus community members and documents Muslim student activities, including one undercover agent’s investigation of a whitewater-rafting trip with MSA students.
UCSB religious studies professor Juan Campo said the NYPD activities and reports are particularly disturbing because the Muslim students were investigated solely because of their religious heritage.
“As far as I know, it doesn’t seem that these groups were doing any specific activity, like protesting or anything like that,” Campo said. “They were being monitored only because they happen to be Muslims — a minority — and targeted as a minority rather than by anything they had done overtly.”
The incident is not a particularly new form of police presence within Muslim American communities and student groups, Campo said.
“After 9/11, many Americans have lost their right to privacy that was guaranteed to us by the Constitution [and] it has been particularly Muslim groups that have been targeted,” Campo said. “There are some campuses around the country where the MSA has been monitored in the past.”
UCSB MSA President Ahmed Mousa, a second-year religious studies major, said the incident is not especially shocking given the prejudice many Muslim Americans currently face. He said the group does not engage in any radical or extremist activities, explaining that members are just as shocked by Islamic extremist activities abroad as most other Americans.
“It scares me because say [for instance] I have somebody come into MSA asking all these questions and it’s an undercover person,” Mousa said. “We’re not a radical group at all. Come to MSA and see who we are … Come hang out with us and let’s talk about whatever. Come get sushi with us or something. We’re not some scary group that, like, hates America.”
Associated Students External Vice President for Statewide Affairs Ahmed Mostafa said the NYPD actions directly violate citizens’ civil rights, even if they operate within the confines of the USA PATRIOT Act.
“It’s disappointing because it’s a violation of our Constitutional rights,” Mostafa said. “It’s a violation of the 14th amendment. If you are what you are, you can be prejudiced against.”
According to Campo, government and law enforcement officials such as Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca strive to develop good relationships with local Muslim communities, assuring the welfare and security of society as a whole.
“People who are professional and open-minded like him realize that the community as a whole benefits from situations where the Muslims feel they can communicate their concerns to public figures,” Campo said. “When the door is open to them, it minimizes the chance for an incident happening from some alienated individual. These alienated individuals can be identified by the Muslim community itself.”
Student Network or Terror Factory? The MSA bills itself as a resource and support group, a place where Muslim students can network and help grow the association. Terrorism expert Patrick Poole, however, told CBN News his investigation of the organization shows it’s being used for another purpose. “The Muslim Students Association has been a virtual terror factory,” said Poole. “Time after time after time again, we see these terrorists — and not just fringe members: these are MSA leaders, MSA presidents, MSA national presidents — who’ve been implicated, charged and convicted in terrorist plots.” The roll call includes Anwar al-Awlaki,… Read more »
WASHINGTON – The Muslim Students Association, or MSA, is one of the largest Islamic organizations in America, with chapters on hundreds of college campuses. It’s alumni include doctors, lawyers and engineers. But the group has another track record that it doesn’t advertise: several of its leaders have been convicted of terrorism, prompting some terror experts to call the MSA a recruiting tool for jihad. Although many Muslim and liberal groups complained about recent congressional hearings on homegrown Islamic radicalism, American-born Muslims are behind a growing number of terror plots — a trend that Attorney General Eric Holder has said keeps… Read more »
“We reject the U.N., reject America, reject all law and order. Don’t lobby Congress or protest because we don’t recognize Congress. The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it. . . . Eventually there will be a Muslim in the White House dictating the laws of Shariah.” — Muhammad Faheed, Muslim Students Association meeting, Queensborough Community College
this is shameful and by no means okay.
Sure it is OK.
This is one tool law enforcement agencies have always used, i.e., investigate likely suspects. Muslims have shown us through their words AND actions that they are more likely to commit crimes than any other sector of society.
Sure it is OK. This is what police have always done. Their job includes preventing crime before it happens. This includes surveillance of likely suspects. Statistics clearly show Muslims are far more likely to commit crimes. This is not prejudice it is simply true.
Quit trying to make us feel guilty for practicing common sense.