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American-Muslims protest New York police tactics

05 February, 2012

NEW YORK: Braving cold weather, hundreds of American-Muslims staged a rally in front of New York Police headquarters on Friday to protest a decade of police infiltrating mosques and spying on Muslim neighbourhoods.

The placard-weaving and slogan-chanting protesters, bundled in winter clothes, marched to the building after offering their Friday prayers in a public square in lower Manhattan. "Being Muslim does not negate our nationality," Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid told the crowd.

"We are unapologetically Muslim and uncompromisingly American," he said, adding, "We want for you to respect us… and we will respect you."

It was the first organised opposition to the NYPD's intelligence tactics since an Associated Press investigation revealed widespread spying programmes that documented every aspect of Muslim life in New York.

Police infiltrated mosques and student groups. Plainclothes officers catalogued Middle Eastern restaurants and their clientele. 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 one protester.

Following the prayer service, the Muslims joined by about 50 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators crowded the sidewalk for the short walk to the large police headquarters building known as One Police Plaza.

They stayed only briefly, chanting for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's ouster, before returning to the Foley Square. Protesters carried signs that said "NYPD Watches Us. Who Watches NYPD?" A dozen or so uniformed police officers monitored the demonstration and followed the march, but there were no clashes between protesters and police.

At an unrelated news conference on Friday, Kelly told reporters that he "categorically denied" the idea that the NYPD was spying. Kelly said his officers only follow leads and do not simply trawl neighbourhoods. "We do what we believe necessary to protect this city, pursuant to the law," Kelly said. "We have a battery of very experienced, well-trained lawyers that advise us on all of our tactics and operations."

Outside the department, however, there is little oversight of the Intelligence Division and its roughly $60 million budget. The City Council is not told about all the department's secret operations and city auditors have not scrutinised the unit since it was transformed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Some of its tactics, such as monitoring name changes, would not be allowed by the FBI because of civil liberties concerns.


Reader Comments:

No amount of protests is going to stop the US from harassing MUSLIMS, in the US or in the rest of the world. They have been doing these things as a matter of course ever since the yanks landed in the country of the RED INDIANS. They stole the land from them, imrisoned them in their own country, enslaved the BLACK MAN in the firm belief that ALL MEN ARE BORN EQUAL (lol), arrested ALL US CITIZENS of Japanese origin at the time of Pearl Harbour, hounded all the 'BLACK MUSLIMS' as enemies, sent Mohammad Ali to jail because he had become a Muslim, attacked virtually every muslim country since WWII, are orchestrating all the evil that is happening in the muslim world, especially in Pakistan and the Arab countries, destroying Iraq by brazen-facedly trying to cheat the WHOLE WORLD by inventing Saddam Hussain's WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION for the sole purpose stealing Iraqi oil, and are now trying to make us believe in their claims of Iran's nuclear waeapons ambitions. (In my opinion every cuntry has the DIVINE right to WMDs, even the VATICAN CITY).

And don't be taken in by their sham concern for other countries' nuclear weapons. They did not even bother to investigate the loss in the 1950s through a jewish aagency of 78 kilos of enriched uranium! Besides, when India exploded a nuclear bomb, Clinton was not concerned, and a little while later when Pakistan detonated one, the brave 'I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN' Clinton imposed sanctions on Pakistan.

The lesson for the muslim world is very clear: UNITE OR PERISH! UNITE OR PERISH!

Chances are you will not unite, so I shall say it for you while I am alive: INNAA LILLAHI WA INNAA ILAIHI RAAJI'OUN!

Aik Ansari, United Kingdom - 05 February, 2012

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