NYCLU files papers in NYPD Muslim surveillance lawsuit

third jihad protest
In January 2012, protesters called for Ray Kelly to resign over his role in a controversial film called “The Third Jihad.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed papers yesterday as part of Handschu v. Special Services Division, the federal court case seeking to stop the NYPD from carrying out surveillance of Muslims.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has repeatedly defended the surveillance program. At a lecture to the Carnegie Council last September, Kelly said, “As a matter of Police Department policy, undercover officers and confidential informants do not enter a mosque unless they are following up on a lead vetted under Handschu.”

Kelly was referring to the Handschu guidelines, meant to insure that the police only monitor when there is a clear indication that the group or individual is committing or about to commit a crime.

Not so, said Shamiur Rahman, a Queens resident of Bangladeshi descent who was recruited as an informant by a plainclothes officer in January of last year.

In a declaration in the NYCLU papers filed yesterday, Rahman recounts being instructed by his NYPD handler “Steve” to “spy on members of the Muslim communities in New York” in “mosques and other locations.”

Rahman delivered photos to the NYPD of people worshipping at mosques, and “recorded cell phone numbers from the sign up sheet of people who attended Islamic instruction classes.”

He was also instructed to inform on the Muslim Students Association at John Jay College, where he “took pictures of people in the group and recorded the license plate numbers of their cars.”

NYPD handler “Steve” reportedly told Rahman the police did not suspect the MSA of any wrong-doing, “they just wanted to make sure.”

“According to my NYPD boss Steve,” Rahman said, “the NYPD considers being a religious Muslim a terrorism indicator.”

How the community copes

Muneer Awad at the Council on American-Islamic Relations said this on-going surveillance has created a culture of insecurity and anxiety among Muslim New Yorkers.
Awad said that students activists and people in Islamic centers “don’t feel as free speaking about issues.”

Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab-American Association of New York said in her declaration in the papers filed yesterday that a man once said to her, “I don’t know whether the guy praying next to me is an informer or not.”

She told him she “could not reassure him that people in the Mosque might not be informers.”

Awad pointed to this sentiment as indicative of the violation Muslim New Yorkers experience.

“You expect discussions with religious leaders to be confidential,” Awad insisted. “This isn’t happening in other communities, other communities wouldn’t tolerate it.”

Informants

Muneer Awad said he’s heard of recruiting attempts by the NYPD.

“A number of people… told us they felt like they were approached by members of law enforcement in an intimidating manner, suggesting they either work with law enforcement or deal with increased scrutiny from law enforcement,” Awad said.

He said such scrutiny could come in many forms, from being placed on no-fly lists, to trouble for family members in the process of obtaining citizenship.

Awad tries to tell these people they are under no legal obligation to comply, and that such pressure is “inconsistent with what our Constitution guarantees.”

Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne rejects these accusations, insisting that “the NYPD adheres to the Constitution in all it does, and specifically the Handschu guidelines in the deployment of undercover officers.”

Browne also noted that “terrorists have tried to attach New York City on 16 different occasions that we know of” since 9/11. According to Browne, the NYPD has foiled plots to attack the Brooklyn Bridge and the Federal Reserve Bank, and to kill American soldiers returning home to New York.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…

Comments

1

  1. Pingback: CIVIL LIBERTIES COALITION CALLS FOR HEARINGS & ACCOUNTABILITY FOR NYPD « MACLC's Weblog