The report also states that no Jews were monitored, despite the fact the area under surveillance was heavily Jewish. Coptic Christians, also prevalent in the area, were similarly excluded.
“We are deeply concerned about the broad campaign of surveillance of everything Muslim that seems to be the policy of the NYPD,” says Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). “It’s crass religious profiling and bad policing because it squanders resources and alienates communities.” [Editor's note: The original version misstated Ms. Lieberman's name.]
In the past, Commissioner Kelly has said that the department’s surveillance of Muslims was nothing out of the ordinary. “In fact, the police department uses many of the same methods to find and stop terrorists that we use to arrest drug dealers, human traffickers, and gang leaders,” he said during a speech at Fordham University Law School on March 3. “We develop detailed information about the nature of the crime and the people involved. We form partnerships with other government agencies, find sources, and make use of undercover officers.”
But aspects of the program have caught the attention of US Attorney General Eric Holder.
The AP has previously reported that in 2007 the NYPD obtained information about Muslims in Newark, N.J. Both Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have said that they were not aware of the operation.
In congressional testimony Thursday, Attorney General Holder expressed concern about the reports.