Designation allowed NYPD to record sermons, spy on all worshipers, place informants on boards
NEW YORK, Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Later today, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), along with other civil rights organizations, will hold a news conference on the steps of 1 Police Plaza to again call on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate reported violations of the constitutional rights of Muslims by the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
[NOTE: Co-sponsors of today's news conference include the Arab American Association of New York and the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC).]
CAIR-NY and others will make that request following new revelations by The Associated Press (AP) that the NYPD "has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing."
WHAT: CAIR-NY, Rights Groups to Call for DOJ Probe of NYPD 'Terror' Designation for Mosques
WHEN: Wednesday, August 28, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Steps of 1 Police Plaza (NYPD Headquarters)
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Board Member Lamis Deek, 917-607-0072, CAIR-NY Office, 212-870-2002; CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 202-742-6410, 720-251-0425, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"The NYPD has proven itself unwilling or unable to respect the constitutional and religious rights of minorities, and it is now up to the Department of Justice to step in," said CAIR-NY Board Member Lamis Deek.
Deek noted other AP revelations about NYPD spying, including:
"Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance."
"Many [spying operations] stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise."
"The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques and at least one prominent Arab-American group in Brooklyn, whose executive director has worked with city officials, including Bill de Blasio, a front-runner for mayor."
"Before the NYPD could target mosques as terrorist groups, it had to persuade a federal judge to rewrite rules governing how police can monitor speech protected by the First Amendment."
Video: NYPD Secretly Designated Entire Mosques as Terrorism Organizations
SEE ALSO: This Is the NYPD's Secret Muslim Spy Cab
In 2011, CAIR called on the DOJ to investigate apparent violations of the privacy rights of Muslim students by the NYPD and several colleges and universities. NYPD informants infiltrated Muslim student groups at local colleges and universities, monitored their Internet activity and placed undercover agents in their ranks. NYPD officers and several educational institutions may have also violated U.S. privacy laws by accessing and sharing students' records without warrants.
SEE: CAIR Seeks DOJ Probe of NYPD Violation of Muslim Students' Privacy
Based on concerns about the NYPD's "stop and frisk tactic" and its surveillance of Muslims, the New York City Council recently overrode mayoral vetoes to create a watchdog for the department and make it easier to file profiling lawsuits against it.
SEE: Lawmakers OK NYPD Watchdog, Overriding Vetoes
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations