Muslim Until Proven Innocent

Since August 2011, the Associated Press has revealed the shocking and unsettling scope of the NYPD’s intelligence analysis and trainings, yet both the department and the city’s top officials have consistently denied or downplayed wrongdoing (or just contradicted themselves). The evidence, however, is far more uncomfortable. For no apparent cause, mosques, schools, restaurants, and college students across the northeast, well outside city limits, were surveilled, spied on, infiltrated and reported back on. Well, there was one apparent reason: All were Muslim.

Since these revelations, prominent public figures such as Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez have called for state and federal investigations. Yale’s President, Richard Levin, slammed the NYPD, and rejected its tactics as a clear and egregious violation of academic freedom (see also this piece in The New Yorker, pointing out that Levin understands national security far better than does Mayor Bloomberg or the NYPD). The AP continues to release information which undermines and refutes the city’s changing defenses of its tactics, while mayors like Rahm Emanuel and Corey Booker distance themselves from Mayor Bloomberg’s police force’s tactics (More on Chicago.)

Yesterday, I spoke with Dr. Sebastian Gorka from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Law Professor Sahar Aziz of Texas Wesleyan on Al Jazeera’s The Inside Story about this issue, its consequences for national security, and how it widens a worrying trust deficit between American Muslims and law enforcement. Watch:

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RD Senior Correspondent Haroon Moghul is a Fellow both at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law and with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Haroon is completing his doctorate at Columbia University and is the author of The Order of Light (Penguin, 2006). He's been a guest on CNN, BBC, The History Channel, NPR, Russia Today and al-Jazeera.