ISNA said it has joined with other leading US civil rights, faith based, legal, and community organizations to urge New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to launch an immediate investigation into the discriminatory practices used by the NYPD.
“We now encourage you to join us and take action today,” said ISNA, or the Islamic Society of North America .
Last Sunday, the AP released yet another investigative article further highlighting the widespread use of discriminatory surveillance tactics by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) against Muslims.
“The tactics used by the NYPD now go far beyond discriminatory training material to include direct religious profiling which violates the civil rights of Muslim Americans and treats prayer as an indicator of violence. Their actions warrant an immediate and thorough investigation,” said ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid.
The most recent AP article highlights reports from undercover NYPD investigations in which the activities of Muslim Student Associations (MSA) in the NYC area were monitored. The AP article cites NYPD reports in which officers kept tabs on the number of times Muslim students engaged in prayer or held a religious discussion and used this as an indicator of future violence or the need to be monitored by law enforcement.
“The NYPD took something as innocuous and common place as prayer and twisted it to become an indicator of the likelihood of that person engaging in violent activities. They then profiled and discriminated against Muslims further by applying this indicator to Muslims alone,” according to Zarzour.
In the opinion of ISNA, the actions of the NYPD are a perfect example of targeted religious profiling of a minority group which not only violate the constitutional rights of thousands of New York residents but also set a precedent that seriously endangers the religious freedom of all Americans by treating prayer as an indication of extremism.
“We must take action today so that our rights and the rights of all other faith groups are protected equally tomorrow and every day thereafter,” ISNA said in a statement.