Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman detailing at least a dozen NYPD "terrorism enterprise investigations" (TEIs) at New York City mosques, and the release of their new, Pulitzer-Prize-winning book "Enemies Within" have renewed public scrutiny of the NYPD/CIA post-9/11 domestic spying program, built on the Israeli model.
Bay Ridge Muslims have felt the brunt, with informants burrowing into mosques to conduct covert surveillance, unmarked vehicles trailing prominent community leaders, and secret databases of Muslim-owned Bay Ridge businesses being created.
Local Muslims now assume the police are among them, spying on their conversations and recording their imams' sermons. And while things may seem outwardly the same in the north end of Bay Ridge, paranoia, distrust, anger and outrage have been sown in the local Muslim community.
The TEI designation allowed the NYPD's secret intelligence agents to infiltrate Bay Ridge's Islamic Society to record sermons and to try to infiltrate Bay Ridge's Arab American Association of New York, something Linda Sarsour, the Brooklyn-born Arab-American who heads the AAANY, felt personally.
Sarsour, who believes that the NYPD tried to infiltrate her organization in 2011, discovered, in the NYPD's recently-disclosed document release to the AP, that her organization was on a 2009 list of targets.
Sarsour's numerous meetings with city officials and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly had done nothing to dispel their suspicion. Since the publication of Apuzzo and Goldman's book, she has stopped talking to Ray Kelly, saying she is willing to meet with him only if he is willing to listen to the concerns of the local Arab-American community.
The Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, also on the NYPD's list of targets as a "mosque of interest" and a "terrorist enterprise", has been under surveillance since 2003. It was spotlighted in 2004 when a Pakistani immigrant with an IQ of 78 who prayed there was arrested and charged with trying to blow up the Herald Square subway station.
The NYPD informant who developed that case billed the NYPD for over $100,000.
Zein Rimawi, the 59-year-old Palestinian-American who co-founded the mosque and now sits on its board, wasn't surprised when he found out it was under NYPD surveillance. He knows of at least three informants currently praying at the mosque who are recording the imam's sermons.
Rimawi doubts that the millions in taxpayer funds the NYPD is spending on surveilling the local mosque are worth the investment.
Sarsour said she can't imagine this kind of treatment being tolerated in the Christian or in any other religious community in America.
The post from Mondoweiss.
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