An investigation by a news agency has revealed New York’s police department has been keeping track of Muslims in Brooklyn.
Associated Press discovered databases covering where members of the Islamic community prayed and even where they bought their shopping. They were compiled by undercover officers who visited the area.
Local businessman Mousa Ahmad, said he questioned what was going on: “There were maybe five outside, ten police inside, you know. I asked him ‘what happened?’ He told me ‘this is just routine’ and I said ‘routine for what?’.”
Cafes and barbershops popular with the Muslims were targeted, with law enforcement officers listening in on conversations and making notes.
Nevertheless, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly insists the force has done nothing wrong: “We see ourselves as very conscious and aware of civil liberties and we know that there’s always going to be tension between the police department and so-called civil liberties groups.”
In light of the surveillance programme, Muslim groups across the city are holding forums to inform people of their rights. However, taking legal action against the police may be hard due to changes in privacy laws since 9/11.
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