Within the NYPD, Mosques have been labeled as terrorist organizations. The designation allows for surveillance of entire mosques.
Numerous mosques have been targeted in “terrorism enterprise investigations.” The investigations include the use of informants and recording of sermons.
As reported by ABC News, the investigations are often conducted without suspicion of criminal activity. Once a mosque is designated as a terrorist organization, all members are subject to investigation.
The investigations have led to innocent citizens being monitored, often without their knowledge.
Three human rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have filed lawsuits against the NYPD. The groups claim that Muslim spying is invasive and unconstitutional.
They argue that everyone has a right to practice their religion. Muslims are now concerned that they are being watched and recorded as they practice their faith.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have denied the claims. Kelly explains that most of the NYPD’s surveillance programs stemmed from 9/11:
“We follow leads wherever they take us… We’re not intimidated as to wherever that lead takes us. And we’re doing that to protect the people of New York City.”
The spying operations are detailed in documents and interviews obtained by The Associated Press.
Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman obtained numerous unpublished case files from the NYPD mosque investigations. The files outline the investigation of at least 12 mosques and Islamic groups in New York.
Apuzzo and Goldman also conducted interviews with numerous former and current officials from the CIA, FBI, and the NYPD.
As reported by CBS News, the results of Apuzzo and Goldman’s work will be published in a book titled Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.
The NYPD’s mosque investigations are only the latest in a number of ongoing civil rights controversies.
[Image via Wikimedia]