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NYPD considers targeted surveillance of NY Muslims

Here is another interesting story which demonstrates the difficulty in balancing the values of democracy and morality with security and precaution.

Associated Press recently obtained a secret document prepared by the New York Police Department back in 2006 entitled, “US Iran Conflict: The Threat to New York City”.  The document, which was prepared for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, shows that NYPD had targeted specific Muslim Centers in New York for surveillance, including mosques and religious centers.  This stands in contradiction with the departments declared principle to avoid religious profiling.

The document, written at a particular peak of tension between Iran and the US, made specific recommendations to focus surveillance efforts on Shiite Muslims and Shiite mosques, in order to trace potential terrorist intentions.

The recommendations made in the report stand in direct conflict with the city law prohibiting investigations based solely on religion.  Commissioner Kelly, when confronted with the seeming illegality of the intended targeted surveillance, was not disconcerted.  He asserts that such surveillance “sounds […] like something we should be doing” in the face of the “outbreak of hostilities involving Iran”.

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