New documents obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press show that the New York Police Department has used an invasive tactic called “terrorism enterprise investigations” to label entire mosques terror cells. This allows the police to spy on Muslims for whom there is no evidence of any wrongdoing — something, the AP reports, that is such an invasion of privacy that the FBI has not conducted a single one.
As part of these terrorism enterprise investigations, NYPD are able to send in undercover informants to mosques across New York, even trying to place police secretly onto the religious organizations’ boards. Police have collected and stored information on “countless” Muslims around the city, the AP reports, and not just within mosques. “One confidential NYPD document shows police wanted to put informants in leadership positions at mosques and other organizations,” the AP writes, “including the Arab American Association of New York in Brooklyn, a secular social-service organization.”
That allegation is eerily similar to a revelation from October of 2012 that the NYPD spied on a Muslim student association at one city college.
Under the leadership of New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the NYPD engaged in widespread racially profiling under the controversial Stop and Frisk program that was recently struck down by a federal court. Kelly has even said that Stop and Frisk has been used to fight “al Qaeda wannabes.” The NYPD has also allegedly paid someone to “create and capture,” meaning, to entice someone into committing jihad or terrorism, and then capture what the person said and report it back to the police.
According to a report from August of last year, none of the NYPD’s programs that spied on Muslims has produced a credible lead. A report by several civil rights organizations has found, additionally, that the NYPD’s Muslim targeting has led to political and religious suppression of Muslims, particularly Muslim students, in the city.
Even a member of the FBI — a group which, again, the AP documents reveal resisted using the investigation tactics of the NYPD — said that the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance program is “starting to have a negative impact.”