By Thomas Mariadason and Maryam Said, AM New York
A secret agent follows students on a rafting trip and logs their conversations and prayer habits. A pole-mounted camera zeroes in on the entrance of a house of worship, reminding congregants that they'll be watched even in the most intimate settings. Patrons of local shops don't chat about the daily news, keeping to themselves to avoid drawing attention.
Could be from George Orwell's 1984, right? Wrong. These are just a few vignettes from a report on the New York Police Department's surveillance of Muslim communities, released this month by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition and its partners. It follows The Associated Press' award-winning exposé of a massive police spy program that used undercover agents, informants, cameras, and the resources of city and federal agencies to infiltrate the daily lives of Muslim Americans here in our beloved city.
And what did this multimillion-dollar jaunt into a Cold War spy thriller give us? As the NYPD itself admitted: No leads. No convictions. Only silence.
The silence is particularly stark in colleges, where intellectual freedom usually thrives. (Full article)