As you may have heard, there has been some controversy regarding the practices of the New York Police Department after 9/11. With assistance from the CIA, the NYPD started infiltrating neighborhoods inhabited by Muslims and some mosques. They were doing this to gain some intelligence, so as to prevent further attacks. Some people are complaining about this, stating that it is an illegal police operation based on discrimination. There has been a request to investigate the operation, and that request is currently being reviewed. The NYPD has stated that it was not random, and that it was following leads.
Illegal discrimination is something definitely worth complaining about and having laws to prevent. Just to clarify what it is, since the request for an investigation shows that some people are unaware what qualifies, illegal discrimination, for example, is when a police officer pulls over a Hispanic man driving down the highway, simply because the driver is Hispanic, and the police officer knows that some Hispanic people may be in America illegally. So, without any traffic violation or legitimate reason, the police officer pulls the man over simply to give him a hard time and find out if he could possibly be an illegal immigrant. That is illegal discrimination. Legal discrimination, on the other hand, is when a bank robbery has occurred, and the suspect has been described by witnesses as a white male with brown hair in his 20’s driving a Ford F-150 and a police officer patrolling nearby sees a white male with brown hair in his 20’s driving a Ford F-150 driving down the highway, and pulls him over to question him. The suspect has been described, and the driver fits the description.
There is a clear difference between illegal and legal discrimination. Discrimination is not inherently illegal. In the case of the 9/11 attacks, the discrimination used by the NYPD was completely legal. It was known that Muslim terrorists, who claimed they were doing Allah’s work, were behind the attacks. That does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists. Just as with the bank robbery mentioned before, where it was done by a white male with brown hair, but not all white males with brown hair were guilty of robbing a bank. However, if the suspect was described as the white male with brown hair, the cop would not be doing his job if he pulled over a black man to question him about the robbery. He would be looking specifically for someone who matches the description of the suspect. That is what the NYPD was doing. Only, in this case, it was a specific religion that met the description. And with the known practices of terrorist networks like Al-Qaida, the best way to investigate and prevent further attacks, was to investigate Muslims specifically, trying to search for terrorist cell groups. When a terrorist group claims its work is being done in the name of its god, searching among people who share the religious beliefs of the group is not illegal, it is required discrimination. It is unfortunate that some innocent people were inconvenienced due the actions of others, but it is still required. When it is not something as broad as race, which does not indicate any type of character, belief, or lifestyle, but rather something as specific as a religious belief, then those that fall into that category are unfortunately not going to be as comfortable as they are used to being. The best thing that can be done is hope that those who are innocent will understand and be willing to overlook the inconvenience in the name of national security. Hopefully, their innocence will be known quickly, and the inconvenience will be minimized.
If people are complaining about the inconvenience, since they are being investigated even though they are innocent, that is completely understandable. Nobody likes being punished due to the actions of others. However, claiming that it is an illegal form of discrimination shows a lack of understanding of how the law works or the situation itself. If you are aware of the attacks of 9/11, and have any idea how to find suspects and eliminate innocent people from the suspect list, you understand it is completely legal. Hopefully, people who do not understand or choose to ignore what qualifies as illegal discrimination, do not hinder the NYPD’s attempts to keep our country safe.