New York – Muslims Pray, Rally In Protest NYPD Spying

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     Members of the muslim community gather for Friday prayers and a rally against the New York Police department's surveillance tactics against the Muslim community in New York, New York, USA, on 18 November 2011.  EPA/JUSTIN LANENew York – Hundreds of Muslims prayed in lower Manhattan and planned a march on New York Police headquarters Friday to protest a decade of NYPD spying inside Muslim neighborhoods.

    The traditional Friday call to prayer echoed off the cold stone of government buildings as people, bundled in winter clothes, knelt in prayer on a blue tarp.

    “We are unapologetically Muslim and uncompromisingly American,” imam Talib Abdur-Rashid told the crowd of about 500 gathered in Foley Square, not far from City Hall and local courthouses.

    To Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, he added, “We want for you to respect us and we will respect you.”

    An Associated Press investigation revealed widespread NYPD spying programs that documented every aspect of Muslim life in New York. Police infiltrated mosques and student groups. Plainclothes officers catalogued Middle Eastern restaurants. Analysts built databases on Arab cab drivers and monitored Muslims who changed their names.

    “Had this been happening to any other religious group, all of America would be outraged,” said Daoud Ibraheem, 73, a retired graphic artist from Brooklyn.

    Many of these programs were built with the help of the CIA as part of an unusually close collaboration that is now the subject of an internal CIA investigation.

    “There’s a wrong that we have all been made aware of,” said Abdur-Rashid, of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood.

    He said it was no secret that police have been watching mosques. But the news that the NYPD was monitoring everything from Islamic schools to restaurants was unacceptable.

    “We’re peaceful people,” said Dalia Nazzal, 18, a freshman at the City University of New York, the target of police infiltration. “We don’t deserve to be under surveillance.”

    Mohamed Mahmoud, 40, the owner of a Brooklyn printing shop, said he knew several people who had been approached by NYPD officers trying to recruit them as informants.

    “They think that all Muslims are criminals, and it’s not right,” he said.

    Messages seeking comment from the NYPD were not immediately returned. A dozen or so uniformed police officers monitored the protest, watching in small clusters from around the perimeter. There were no clashes between protesters and police.

    The protest was joined by about 50 members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who marched to Foley Square chanting “Surveillance is violence, we won’t remain silent!”

    Following the prayer, protesters were scheduled to march to police headquarters, calling for an end to the surveillance.

    Protesters carried signs that said “NYPD Watches Us. Who Watches NYPD?” and “NYPD/CIA: Hands Off Our People.”

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    8 COMMENTS

    1. When did “intelligence gathering” become spying?
      It has been concretely established that the radical muslims reside right here in our midst and are sheltered by their community.
      The rights of peace loving citizens trump those that seek to do us harm.

    2. There’re out there protesting in hope , the NYPD will back down so they can plan and attack us much easier, we shall see if mike bloomberg and ray Kelly will back down, it’s possible but I hope not !

    3. And the truth slowly comes out…they would rather terror than be inconvenienced. They may be peaceful but the unpeaceful ones seem to come from the same religion and spying is one way to differentiate- I wonder why it bothers them sooo.hmmm

    4. Decent Muslims…probably…unfortunate yes!…the price that they have to pay for the horrible actions of their own…no different than lawabiding young blacks stopped because of the endless violence by some in their communities. Black leaders come out against the violence but then the words just wither and die…time for the decent Muslims to loudly and publicly disassociate themselves from the fanatics within their mists, cooperate with the auhorities to root out the potential threats…then maybe they will have something to complain about.

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