We recently reported here, on Paragon Security’s blog, on the allegations that NYPD planned targeted surveillance on Muslim mosques and religious centers in its endeavour to prevent terrorism. The affair recently exploded when it was revealed that the surveillance of Muslims was not only planned, but executed.
Following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, NYPD joined forces with the CIA in an attempt to thwart any terrorist groups from gaining ground in NY, and to prevent potential terrorist activity in or against the city of New York. The CIA was helping NYPD to gain intelligence from mosques and minority neighborhoods. NYPD kept records of activity of individuals and Muslim neighborhoods. Some of NYPD’s methods was sending undercover officers into community establishments such as mosques, businesses and colleges.
Once the story was brought to light there have been countless vociferous denouncements of the tactic, not only from within Muslim community. The tactic is seen as discriminatory and penetrating in ways which are hardly constitutional.
The legal aspects of the ongoing targeted surveillance of Muslims are still being debated in court. But it seems that the street has made up its mind. Two separate polls conducted recently by Quinnipiac University and Baruch College show that New Yorkers approve of NYPD’s actions as acceptable means to prevent terrorists.
Baruch College Survey shows that 81 percent of New Yorkers believe police were doing an excellent or good job in thwarting terrorism. The police’s focus on Muslims in order to prevent terrorist attacks had an approval of 43 percent, with an opposition of 44 percent.
Quinnipiac University’s poll shows similar approval rates. of more than 900 NY voters, 58 percent agreed that police act appropriately in their dealing with Muslim populations. Only 29 percent opposed this statement.
The Police deny allegations of illegal racial profiling by claiming that their actions were prompted by legitimate leads, not merely by religious identity. But the legality of said actions are yet to be decided.