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New York's Bloomberg defends city surveillance of Muslims
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended on Thursday his police department's monitoring of Muslim student groups' websites.
February 22nd, 2012
03:28 AM ET

New York's Bloomberg defends city surveillance of Muslims

By Kiran Khalid, CNN

New York (CNN) - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday fired back at the president of Yale University and others who have suggested city police went too far in their surveillance of Muslims.

"We have to keep this country safe," the mayor told reporters, addressing questions about an Associated Press report that said the NYPD was closely monitoring Muslim student associations in schools across the Northeastern United States.

"If people put things on websites and make them available to everybody, of course the NYPD is going to look at anything that's publicly available in the public domain," Bloomberg said. "And given we've had a dozen people arrested or convicted of terrorist acts who've come from similar organizations, we have an obligation to do so."

The AP article said police have tracked websites, and on one occasion sent an undercover officer with students from The City College of New York on a whitewater rafting trip.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

"The police department goes where there are allegations," the mayor said, adding that the city's officers are seeking to protect "the very things that allow Yale to survive."

But Yale President Richard Levin described New York's surveillance program as "antithetical to the values" of the New Haven, Connecticut, university and those of the nation.

When asked by a reporter if police had gone too far by sending the agent on the rafting trip, Bloomberg responded "no."

Police spokesman Paul Browne told CNN that his agency does not monitor students directly, but confirmed it does monitor the websites they use.

"In any case where you see an NYPD officer present, it's an indication that we were looking at an individual," he said.

Browne accused the AP of "hyping these stories" to sensationalize them. He provided a list of 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism-related charges in the United States who were once members of Muslim student associations.

The Columbia University Muslim Students Association condemned the police practice in a statement Tuesday.

"We are concerned that news reports about NYPD's presence on our campus have a chilling effect on the intellectual freedom necessary for a vibrant academic community," it read.

In December, a prominent group of Muslim leaders boycotted Bloomberg's annual interfaith breakfast in protest of the controversial program.

The move stemmed from a series of earlier news reports that raised questions about the nature of a CIA partnership with the NYPD that allegedly helped to build city intelligence programs to spy on Muslims.

The boycott stood in a stark contrast to the goodwill the mayor earned among Muslim leaders when he defended plans for a controversial Islamic community center near the former site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

The CIA later announced its internal watchdog found no issue or evidence of wrongdoing in the spy agency's partnership with the NYPD.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim • New York • United States

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. tuvia

    B"H

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU

    LET MY PEOPLE GO SENETOR HILLIARY CLINTON AND hussein OBAMA. LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW
    LET MY PEOPLE GO
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyBZhTaf1oU&w=640&h=390]

    WORLD VS ISRAEL. HILLARY CLINTON-THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR YOU – LET MY PEOPLE GO. FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW. LET MY PEOPLE GO BARRAK HUSSEIN OBAMA – NOW!
    The Land of Israel is the Promised Land given to our forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob and is given to us, their seed, as an everlasting Inheritance.
    PLEASE PLAY ON YOUR NETWORK NOW
    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

    PLEASE ASK THE CANDIDATE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.
    JONATHAN POLLARD HAS SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN PRISON.
    IT IS TIME THAT HE IS PARDONED

    LET MY PEOPLE GO SENETOR HILLIARY CLINTON AND hussein OBAMA. LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW
    LET MY PEOLE GO

    Rabbi Chaim Richman answers President Obama's Cairo speech

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyBZhTaf1oU

    WORLD VS ISRAEL. HILLARY CLINTON-THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR YOU – LET MY PEOPLE GO. FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW. LET MY PEOPLE GO BARRAK HUSSEIN OBAMA – NOW!
    The Land of Israel is the Promised Land given to our forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob and is given to us, their seed, as an everlasting Inheritance.

    WORLD VS ISRAEL. HILLARY CLINTON-THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR YOU – LET MY PEOPLE GO. FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW. LET MY PEOPLE GO BARRAK HUSSEIN OBAMA – NOW!
    The Land of Israel is the Promised Land given to our forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob and is given to us, their seed, as an everlasting Inheritance.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    September 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  2. tuvia

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    NEWS RELEASE

    'Germany met with Munich terrorists after attack'
    By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT

    08/26/2012 18:05

    Fearing additional attack on German soil, Germany offered Black September political upgrade of PLO, 'Der Spiegel' reports.

    Photo by: REUTERS / Handout

    BERLIN – For years, Germany’s government had contact with the organizers of the Black September terror group that was responsible for the murder of 11 Israeli sportsmen and a German police office at the 1972 Olympic Games, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Sunday.

    Several months after the murders, the West German government proposed a secret meeting between one of the organizers of the Palestinian terrorist group and then-foreign minister Walter Scheel. The aim of the clandestine meeting was to create a “new basis of trust,” according to Der Spiegel.

    Germany’s government demanded a quid pro quo.

    The PLO would cease attacks on German soil in exchange for a political upgrade. In addition to granting political legitimacy to the PLO, the government would pull the plug on any criminal charges for the murders in Munich.

    Paul Frank, the state secretary in the Foreign Ministry, sent a signal to the PLO that the “Munich chapter” is now “closed,” Der Spiegel wrote.

    The newsweekly reported that when the French police arrested Abu Daoud (real name Muhammad Daoud Oude) – one of the main organizers of the killing spree in Munich – and inquired about extraditing him to the German authorities, Bavarian justice secretary Alfred Seidl recommended that Germany take no action. The French released Abu Daoud. Syria’s Assad regime protected Abu Daoud and the Fatah terrorist in a Damascus hospital in 2010.

    Germany today maintains a quid pro quo policy toward the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah that is similar to its posture toward Black September, according to German journalists and intelligence officers. The Federal Republic allows Hezbollah’s 950 active members to work legally in Germany in exchange for not engaging in terrorism on German soil.

    Philipp Missfelder, Bundestag foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, wrote The Jerusalem Post last week, “It is long overdue to place Hezbollah on the EU’s list of terror organizations.”

    The Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee issued a statement last week calling on Merkel’s administration to ban Hezbollah.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=390]

    DOES THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

    DOES HE AND THE REST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

    WANT THE TORAH?

    DO THEY WANT THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM AND DOES THE WORLD AND WILL YOU PLEASE
    ASK MR. ROMNEY, AND HIS CONVENTION THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.

    WE THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM
    WE WANT TO GET PERMISSION FROM THE WORLD TO
    BUILD THE 3RD TEMPLE.

    WE WANT TO ADVANCE THE EDUCATION TO THE WORLD
    THROUGH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    THE TEMPLE INSITUTE IN JERSUSALEM WILL HELP THE
    MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES WITH
    PERMISSION.

    MR. ROMNEY THE FOLLOWING QUESTION IS DIRECTED TO YOU.

    DO YOU MOURN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE AND WILL YOU ALLOW THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM TO SERVE HASHEM IN THE LAND

    September 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
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    June 4, 2012 at 8:24 am |
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    June 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Keep on your state of Denial;

    Secret £14million Bible in which 'Jesus predicts coming of Prophet Muhammad' unearthed in Turkey
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2105714/Secret-14million-Bible-Jesus-predicts-coming-Prophet-Muhammad-unearthed-Turkey.html

    Vatican 'wants to see' 1,500-year-old ancient script
    Has been hidden by Turkish state for 12 years
    Handwritten in gold-lettered Aramaic
    By Daily Mail Reporter

    Last updated at 5:14 PM on 24th February 2012

    A secret Bible in which Jesus is believed to predict the coming of the Prophet Muhammad to Earth has sparked serious interest from the Vatican.

    Pope Benedict XVI is claimed to want to see the 1,500-year-old book, which many say is the Gospel of Barnabas, that has been hidden by the Turkish state for the last 12 years.

    The £14million handwritten gold lettered tome, penned in Jesus' native Aramaic language, is said to contain his early teachings and a prediction of the Prophet's coming.

    February 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Surveillance of Muslims is only an introduced advanced precaution to an act of burning of Quran in Afghanistan which of course is not an insult or humiliation to Afghans only but to the whole Islamic nation...! Them lunatics do all such ignorant and arrogant acts and then complain that Muslims are being violent....?! just wonder who are behind all these plans bringing up Islamic rage to boil up...?!

    February 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      Guess Pres.Obama should ask who's interest was to spark such a riot...knowingly that is inexcusable act for some pretending to bring peace in to the area...! If Taliban had shot individuals then such an act has shot a whole nation...!

      Any way as it seems this will be the beginning of the end for Foreign troops in Afghanistan since now it is becoming more like a Holy War were every one there will be glad to give his life and die as a martyr. For the sake of his religion & beliefs..!

      Who ever ordered the burning was either trying to speed up the withdrawals of the foreign troops from Afghanistan or some one who wanted the wars there to be heated up and extended heavily as with ((Wars means good business for some))...!

      It was intended to humiliate beliefs of those and all Muslims while to find excuse to commit mass murders of angry Afghan Muslims...! If that act was of the supposedly friends then who needs enemies...? Obviously those Afghan soliders will have no alternative now but to fight foreign troops rather than their own people who are angry out of a religious prospective and not politics...! What a shame...

      February 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  9. David

    The best way to watch a Muslim is through the scope of a swat team sniper rifle.

    February 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  10. Reality

    Jew Fear in Jew York.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Reality

      Not from the original Reality.

      February 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  11. King Kong

    Hypocrisy could not have reached higher than that statement by Demuth accusing someone else of spewing hatred.
    That ought to be the heights of hypocrisy!

    February 22, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    What would Mayor Bloomberg's stand be if the NYPD were spying on every Jewish group in the NY metro area due to the one Jewish Blogger in Florida who commented that assassination of the President would justified if he refused to support Israel? What would his stand be if the NYPD spied on every Roman Catholic group in the NY metro area because some known or suspected members of organized crime groups are members of the Catholic Faith? From my understanding, this entire broad sweep of tens of thousands of people only managed to confirm less than a dozen possible suspects that had already been flagged by the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc., and only one or two of them had ever been within a hundred miles of NYC!

    February 22, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • rick

      when jews and roman catholics try to blow up the capitol, try to blow up airplanes with underwear bombs, bomb synagogues in NYC and fly planes into NYC buildings, they will be watched as closely as the nuts who actually do these things. since when is the comparison of apples and oranges taught at Yale?

      February 23, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Can't say much about the produce counting you speculate on, but how about this for a civil liberties issue – currently if you drive in CT, you are likely to have your license plate scanned by the CT State Police. The location where you are is flagged. The next time your plate is scanned, that location is flagged, too. Eventually the State Police will have a record of just about every place you go. Why are they collecting this data? To track people in the event that they may be involved in something the Police should be aware of! How do you like that for their official explanation? They also managed to get a bill killed in the Legislature that would have required a court order for them to collect this information. I suspect that Eric Blair (George Orwell's real name) is probably crying his eye's out knowing that Big Brother is alive and well and living in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
      I don't know about you, but this is not why I served 12 years in the Navy.

      February 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    Americans long ago traded privacy for convenience and the illusion of security.
    The Patriot Act made it legal for the FBI to access all information about citizens without a warrant.
    Roving wire taps, access to cell phone and ISP records with all details of your comm habits for the last two years.
    Furthermore, the Defense Authorization Act which was just passed has given the US Military full rights to detain ANYONE – US citizen or not, indefinitely and without trial.
    Careful what you say, my American cousins, lest you become a target of your own government.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • captain america

      Here's a news flash for you canadian mind your own F'n business. We have been doing just fine for over two hundred years without your bull sh it, we'll be good for a few thousand more. Go screw up your own country. There's your sign

      February 22, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Good morning, Cap'n Xenophobe.
      Any more pointless drivel you'd like to rant to further parade your ignorance, or are you done for the moment?

      February 22, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • William Demuth

      Doc

      Please accept that Cap does NOT speak for America.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • captain america

      Hey Demuth how do you figure some pervert canadian can do your thinking for you? Patriot my ass, you'd give this land to the qu eers without a fight. Guess what the rest of US will run our own country our own way and if the canadians don't like it, tough sh it. There's your sign

      February 22, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @cap'n
      It seems you fear an invasion by the Gay Army that'll come to your house in their rainbow uniforms to convert you.
      Gayness is an airborne virus you can contract by being in close proximity to anyone who likes to wear pink, so you should probably climb into your bio-hazard suit and hide out in your basement until everyone in the world is straight.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • William Demuth

      captain america

      You mistake me for a liberal.

      Frankly, I suspect you are nothing more than a child who hides behind a silly name to spout your hate.

      A coward such as yourself is a sad reflection on this great nation.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • pervert alert

      "gay" is a word stolen by qu eers to add legitimacy to their sick, disgusting lifestlye.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • captain america

      I'll continue to stand for Us and right to self determination, no canadian is doing my thinking for me. No fear of qu eers,atheists or perverts of any stripe, whack em and stack em. In the words of a great American,'Bring em on'. Hey Demouth what mouth wash are you using to get the stench of foreign butt off your lips? There's your sign

      February 22, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • captain america

      My aluminum foil hat keeps me safe from you canadian moosehumpers i also use bad grammmer and speling to crush all the qu eers and atheists and perverts its like speaking in tongues. Shiny hat maake me reel smartt. There's your sign

      February 22, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • captain america

      It is interesting that confronted with truth canadian atheist,commie, pansy types resort to identi ty theft in their desperate attempt to shoot the messenger. Pound salt doc everyone knows its you, stay on your own side of the border and annoy your own kind. There's your sign

      February 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • captain america

      Can evrybudy wait a bit? I have to go turn on Rush Limbaugh so I can find out what my opinions are today.

      Im a reel meathead: there's your sign

      February 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Cap'n
      Unlike certain trolls on this board, I've never used a moniker other than this one.
      I have, in fact, used no other pseudonym for 14 years.
      If I've a point to make about your ignorance, bigotry and general loutishness, I'll do it in my own name.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • boocat

      Pay no attention to Captain Amerika....he's another fascist. We have alot of them here telling the rest of us how we should live. Consider the source and move on.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  14. Reality

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    February 22, 2012 at 8:05 am |
  15. The Bobinator

    Sorry, if you make something public, anyone and everyone has permission to look at it.

    Don't like it, get a private board. Problem solved.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 22, 2012 at 7:23 am |

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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.