-—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—-
(NEW YORK, NY, 4/16/14) – The Islamic Circle of North America welcomes the decision of the New York Police Department to disband a secretive unit that engaged in mass surveillance of Muslim communities.
The broad intelligence-gathering unit built detailed files of where Muslims ate, prayed and spent their time, completely mapping the communities’ lives. Islamic places of worship and institutions and Muslim groups and business were closely monitored.
Names, phone numbers, email addresses, license plates – nothing was left out of the blanket surveillance program. The NYPD has acknowledged that despite years of investigation, it never produced a single criminal lead.
“This Unit alienated the New York Muslim communities in New York and created an environment of fear and mistrust” said Omar Ranginwala, president of ICNA NY. “We look positively at this step to shut down the unit. However, further action must be taken to ensure that biased policing is not conducted on any community on the basis of their faith.”
ICNA also commends all community groups and activists for their untiring efforts in bringing this issue to everyone’s attention and highlighting its violation of constitutional rights of American citizens.
Two federal lawsuits are in place to challenge the department’s tactics and prevent future unconstitutional surveillance.