Wednesday, February 22, 2012
For those of you who are interested, here is a link to the report itself. Please consider going through it, as the degree of personal and demographic detail is shocking.
Americans living and working in New Jersey's largest city were subjected to surveillance as part of the New York Police Department's effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray. The operation in Newark was so secretive even the city's mayor says he was kept in the dark.
For months in mid-2007, plainclothes officers from the NYPD's Demographics Units fanned out across Newark, taking pictures and eavesdropping on conversations inside businesses owned or frequented by Muslims.
The result was a 60-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, containing brief summaries of businesses and their clientele. Police also photographed and mapped 16 mosques, listing them as Islamic Religious Institutions.
Similarly, in Long Island:
Of course, the report related to Long Island is identical to the one produced for Newark in terms of its detailed intrusiveness. I hesitate to say that such information is being developed in order to facilitate the seizure of large numbers of Muslims in the event of a political crisis, as happened with Japanese Americans in 1942. But the creation of such extensive surveillance information, information that would make it easier to carry out such a mass seizure, is alarming. I also doubt that the NYPD is the only police department in the US involved in such activity. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department had a similar surveillance program targeting Muslims in late 2007 that it purportedly abandoned. Maybe, the Associated Press should look into whether it really was abandoned, or just concealed further underground. Don't expect credulous politicians at any level of the government to display much curiousity about it.
The other report that AP released, which covers surveillance in Nassau County, New York (Long Island), shows NYPD mapped population centers and business districts of communities of interest. Like Newark, they found out where all people of Arab, Bangladeshi, Guyanese, Indian, Iranian, Pakistani and Turkish descent lived in Nassau County.
This report also notes which businesses sell or serve halal meat. It also notes the number of seats in each of the restaurants.
One site singled out is a Hookah cafe and lounge that caters to college students and plays Hip Hop music at night and is owned by Egyptians, Pakistanis and African Americans. Another site, Cleopatra, a small sized store for Middle Eastern food and groceries, is noted for having Al Jazeera news on the television.
Yemeni-owned businesses are noted, but there is no demographic map for Yemenis. It seems they were categorized as Arab.
A section, Locations Requiring Further Examination, includes an Unnamed Mosque and School the police seem to have presumed was owned by a Pakistani female. Also listed is a warehouse for Friday prayer and, finally, a place called Darul Tabligh North America (DNA) is listed because its primary goal is to assist the community in North America to fulfill its responsibility of imparting religious education to the upcoming generations, also to become a source of information on Islam for the public at large. Educating young people on Islamic tradition seems to be suspect to whomever made this note.