Breakfast Boycott in NYC: Muslim Leaders Reject Mayor’s Invitation

Several religious leaders are boycotting an interfaith breakfast hosted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg over news that the NYPD has been spying on Muslim neighborhoods.

CBS reports that the breakfast boycott started when it was revealed that police were gathering information on Muslim citizens.

Hesham El-Meligy, founder of the Building Bridges Coalition of Staten Island, said:

“I couldn’t be there while knowing that the mayor supports, if not established, this warrantless spying apparatus. I could not just go there as if everything was OK, knowing that it’s not.”

The interfaith breakfast is hosted by the mayor every year and showcases the diversity and tolerance of New York City during the holiday season where many religious holidays overlap.

Mayor Bloomberg won praise from the Muslim community when he stood up for the “ground zero mosque,” but Muslim leaders say that the new surveillance effort is unwarranted and demonstrates the ongoing mistrust of Muslims.

The 15 Muslim clerics who are boycotting the breakfast wrote a letter to the Mayor, saying:

“However, despite these welcome and positive actions, very disturbing revelations have come to light regarding the city’s treatment of Muslim New Yorkers.”

An NYPD spokesman denied that police were targeting Muslim neighborhoods, saying that the NYPD follows terrorist related leads but does not spy on innocent Muslims.

Police spokesman Paul Browne told CBS:

“Contrary to assertions, the NYPD lawfully follows leads in terrorist-related investigations and does not engage in the kind of wholesale spying on communities that was falsely alleged.”

Here’s a video about the breakfast boycott from the Associated Press.

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