September 2, 2013
The Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition strongly condemns the policies and activities of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), which, the Associated Press has just revealed, designates mosques as "terrorism enterprises” in order to more easily spy on them and infiltrates Muslim community organizations. For years, the NYPD has targeted the Muslim community on the basis of religion. As we approach the Jewish High Holy Days season, we urge all Jews and Jewish institutions—and all New Yorkers—to join us in publicly and unequivocally opposing the NYPD’s unlawful surveillance program.
We were angered, but not surprised, to learn from the AP last week that the NYPD, which sent informants on a Muslim students’ rafting trip in 2008, also had placed informants in mosques: reporting that one mosque is building a gym (planning jujitsu classes), and one young Muslim leader, whose wedding the NYPD videotaped and infiltrated, was organizing camping and paintball trips. All these NYPD activities were part of the newly revealed Terrorism Enterprise Investigations (TEI), which can last for years. According to the AP article, “the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating a terrorism enterprise.” This surveillance program operates in a discriminatory and abusive manner, like the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, which, as a federal judge recently ruled, unconstitutionally violates the rights of people of color in New York City. As with earlier NYPD and FBI programs, which focused on African American, anti-war, and other groups, the NYPD program also involves planting informants in the leadership of nonprofit groups. One group targeted by the NYPD is the Arab American Association of New York, a Brooklyn-based social service organization. The NYPD’s effort to place informants on the boards of groups like AAANY violates the civil liberties of those targeted and threatens all of us who work in pro-justice organizations.
The Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition continues to fully support the Muslim community and all those opposing the NYPD’s unjust and unconstitutional attacks on Muslim individuals, religious institutions, and community groups.
The Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition (JAIC) consists of three groups: Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and Jews Say No! (JSN!). http://www.jewsagainstislamophobia.org
Amy Helfant ahelfant [at] gmail [dot] com
Donna Nevel denevel [at] gmail [dot] com