The NYPD covertly designated entire mosques as terrorist organizations to facilitate a program of informants and police spies working inside of the religious communities, according to recently released confidential documents.
The files, obtained by the Associated Press journalists Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, are part of a newly-released book “Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.” Since 9/11, the NYPD has been able to expand its reach under the anti-terrorism umbrella. With a mosque under scrutiny as a “terrorism enterprise investigation,” of TEI, police are able to pursue anyone who attends the mosque through investigations and surveillance.
Mayoral candidate John Liu spoke out against the practice saying, “This latest A.P. report details new heights of disregard for civil and religious freedoms by the Bloomberg Administration. Putting religious worship and religious leaders under surveillance, without evidence, is an outrageous betrayal of one of our country’s founding principles. It is unconscionable that the City spy on people simply because of where they study or worship or what neighborhood they live in.”
The disclosure, which comes as a shock to many, is on the heels of several lawsuits connected with the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactic.
“The NYPD’s practice of branding entire houses of worship as terrorist organizations is shameful and deeply disturbing,” said Reshma Saujani, former Deputy Public Advocate and Democratic candidate for NYC Public Advocate. “From the racist stop-and-frisk policy to the unwarranted surveillance of our Muslim brothers and sisters, the NYPD has exhibited a jarring pattern of discriminatory behavior.”