The NYPD Spied on Its Moderate Muslim Allies, Because They Were Muslims

The Associated Press has yet another shocking story about the NYPD's kafka-esque effort to literally monitor all Muslims, everywhere, all the time: Among the people the department targeted for surveillance was a leading moderate imam who was profiled in a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times story and ate breakfast and dinner with Mayor Bloomberg while the NYPD was tracking him as a potential terrorist.

Sheikh Reda Shata, an Egyptian-born cleric who ran a Brooklyn mosque, was identified by the NYPD as a "Tier One threat potential," for no apparent reason other than that he was an Egyptian-born cleric who ran a Brooklyn mosque. So they spied on him, despite the fact that he had never been convicted, charged, or suspected of anything approaching a crime. In fact, he actively supported local and federal law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts. Not good enough.

During his time at the Islamic Center of Bay Ridge since 2002, he welcomed FBI agents to his mosque to speak to Muslims, invited NYPD officers for breakfast and threw parties for officers who were leaving the precinct. As police secretly watched Shata in 2006, he had breakfast and dinner with Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion and was invited to meet with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Shata recalls.

If they're singling out people like Shata for surveillance, it means that there are literally no Muslims, anywhere, that the NYPD doesn't automatically assume to be a potential threat. Everyone is suspect.

[Photo via AP]