The NYPD has quietly labeled mosques in the United States as terrorist organizations. This apparently enables them to record mosque sermons, use informants, and keep tabs on imams, without the need for any specific evidence against them.
Furthermore, if mosques are designated as terrorist organizations by the NYPD, those who attend services there can potentially be investigated and checked upon at will.
Ever since the 9/11 attacks in New York, the NYPD has initiated numerous investigations against suspected terror cells in the United States. These are known as TEI’s (terrorism enterprise investigations). The police have been watching some mosques for many years, without pursuing criminal charges.
The whole question of the NYPD Mosques policy is shrouded in secrecy. When the NYPD opens an investigation into a mosque, it is potentially so invasive that even the FBI never took such actions. The proactive approach seems to have worked well in the fight against terror, but is it ethical?
Numerous young Muslims living in New York have reportedly been investigated, and their information kept in secret police files. Undercover officers were sent into mosques and informants were planted in an effort to obtain information about any potential terror attacks.
Bill de Blasio, from an Arab-American group and a lead-runner for the position of Brooklyn mayor took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his concerns about the new police strategy. He said he was “deeply troubled NYPD has labelled entire mosques & Muslim organizations as terror groups with seemingly no leads. Security AND liberty make us strong.”
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly spoke on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, reminding viewers that the intrusive investigations on mosques started in the wake of 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.”
Only time can tell what the outcome will be of the NYPD mosques policy, and how effective it will be in protecting citizens from future terrorist attacks.