NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were new revelations Friday of religious profiling by the NYPD. Now there are calls for the federal government to rein in the Police Department’s anti-terrorism unit.
The NYPD’s anti-terror cops specifically targeted Muslims and gave other religious groups a pass, newly released top secret documents show.
“These are clearly constitutional liberties that are being trampled on. They are not pursuing criminality or terrorism. They’re actually attacking a religion,” Zead Ramadan, president of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
The reports indicate cops collected information on businesses owned by second and third generation Americans, specifically because they were Muslims, and ignored members of other religions in the same ethnic communities.
In a top secret report labeled “Syrian locations of concern” investigators said: “The Syrian community in New York City is divided into two parts, a Jewish Syrian and a Muslim Syrian community. This report will focus on the smaller Muslim community.”
In the Egyptian community, Coptic Christians were left alone, but Muslims were spied upon.
“Here’s the real tragedy: it’s that they’re poisoning American minds with the idea that we must be in suspicion of our Muslim American neighbors,” Ramadan said.
The NYPD defended its actions, citing Justice Department guidelines which state that if “members of certain terrorist organizations live and operate primarily within a certain concentrated community of the same ethnicity, the location of that community is clearly valuable — and properly collectible — data.”
On his radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to back down, saying that he believes members of the Muslim community support the NYPD’s actions. He said they want to be safe, too.
“We’re doing the right thing. We will continue to do the right thing. We take every precaution possible to not do anything possible that ever violates the law,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor and the Police Department said they do not intend to stop what they’re doing, because their mission is to prevent another terror attack.
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