NYPD mosques: Places of worship or terrorist organizations? If you attend a mosque in New York City, you may be investigated as a supporter of the latter, says a startling Aug. 28 exposé reported on by The Associated Press and carried by Yahoo! News.
Entire Muslim mosques have been covertly designated by the New York Police Department as “terrorist organizations,” a label that creates an enormous amount of latitude when it comes to potential terrorist investigations without substantive cause.
Documents obtained by The Associated Press "show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files," says the AP report.
The Associated Press has learned that since September of 2011, the NYPD has opened and conducted over a dozen of these investigations, which are referred to as “Terrorism Enterprise Investigations” or TEIs for short.
The designation of a mosque as a TEI, which can be done with only minimal evidence or suspicion, means that police investigators can go so far as to record sermons and spy on the mosque’s imams.
“Anyone who attends prayer services… is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.” -- The Associated Press
Despite the TEIs, no mosque or Islamic organization has been criminally charged as operating as a terrorism enterprise.
The secret mosque designations come at a time when the NYPD is already being highly scrutinized for its sanctioned and invasive practices. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that the department's use of the stop-and-frisk tactic was unconstitutional and must end.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly supports the efforts to monitor Islamic mosques, saying the TEIs are a necessary layer of protection for the residents of New York City.
“We follow leads wherever they take us,” Kelly said. “We're not intimidated as to wherever that lead takes us. And we're doing that to protect the people of New York City.”
But who is protecting the individual Muslims whose freedom to worship is concurrently protected by the Constitution?
What are your thoughts? Compulsory protection or unnecessary infringement? Leave your thoughts below.