New revelations about the NYPD's aggressive antiterror practices suggest that mosques and Muslim groups are being probed for terrorist activity, even when there's no evidence of it.
Just weeks after a federal judge found the New York Police Department had illegally targeted minorities with its contentious stop-and-frisk policy, confidential police documents reveal the department has also secretly designated mosques as “terrorist organizations” – a label that gives police greater leeway to infiltrate and conduct surveillance on Muslim houses of worship, even without any evidence of criminal activity.
The department calls these probes “terrorism enterprise investigations,” according to documents acquired by the AP. The policy allows police to investigate anyone associated with the targeted mosque or Muslim community group. The investigations can stretch on for years, even if charges are never brought, the AP reports.
The program points to the scope of New York's aggressive antiterror practices. No other law enforcement agency – including the FBI, which criticized the NYPD's investigations of mosques in New Jersey last year – is known to be employing such tactics, and the new report comes as the NYPD faces increasing scrutiny.
The administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg was already facing a lawsuit over the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims, in addition to the legal challenge over the department's policy of stopping and frisking anyone who could reasonably be thought to be involved in serious crime. The revelations about terrorism enterprise investigations will only stoke the outrage among civil libertarians.
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