New York residents in one the largest Muslim enclaves in the US say rhetoric to patrol neighborhoods is not shocking because they’ve been watched since 9/11
Few communities in America should be as concerned about Ted Cruz’s proposal to aggressively surveil US Muslims than Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge. The neighborhood is home to one of the largest Muslim enclaves in the country, estimated at over 30,000. A walk down Fourth Avenue will turn up as many shop awnings in Arabic as in English, and women in hijab and niqab are as common a sight as business suits in Manhattan’s financial district.
But here, perhaps as much as anywhere, the reaction for many is closer to apathy.
Cruz’s comments “seem like a revelation to everyone else and my response is that it’s already been happening,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York. Sarsour, a lifelong Brooklynite and Bay Ridge resident added “Muslim communities around the country have been under constant surveillance for the past 15 years.”
Cruz, currently second in the race for the Republican nomination, proposed that law enforcement ramp up efforts to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in response to the terror attacks in the Belgian capital of Brussels on Tuesday. Islamic State has claimed credit for the bombings that left 31 people dead and more than 200 injured.
But as Sarsour observed, such a program is nothing new. The NYPD famously embarked on an expansive dragnet of surveillance efforts directed at the city’s Muslim residents in the wake of 9/11. One of those programs – known as the demographics unit – was assembled to study and map 28 “ancestries of interest”, the AP reported in 2011, most of them Muslim. Undercover officers in this unit were tasked with visiting community locations like bookstores and cafes to look for “hot spots” of potential extremist sentiment.
Faisal, a 17-year-old Bay Ridge resident said he couldn’t remember a time before the possibility of surveillance was a normal part of life. “It’s just part of growing up Muslim in New York, I guess,” he said, shrugging.
The NYPD suspended its demographics program under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s direction in 2014, a move Cruz described Wednesday as a kowtow to “political correctness”. New York, Cruz said in a statement, “succumbed to unfounded criticisms and eliminated the efforts of law enforcement to work with Muslim communities to stop radical Islamic terrorism.”
New York officials fired back quickly, with the mayor’s office calling Cruz’s statement “blatantly false” and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton calling the plan out of step with American values. Bratton added “the statements [Cruz] made today is why he’s not going to become president of this country.”
The city is facing continued litigation over the surveillance of Muslims including the pending case of Hassan v City of New York, which is seeking to have the courts declare the surveillance program unconstitutional, order the NYPD to “immediately stop spying on our clients”, and destroy any records related to the programs.
Omar Fareh, one of the attorneys arguing the case for the Center for Constitutional Rights said “blanket, discriminatory policing of a religious group – based as it is on crude stereotypes – simply does not work. It was right of Mr. Bratton to acknowledge as much in his recent remarks.”
Bratton even defended the abandoning of the demographics program in November, claiming “not one single piece of actionable intelligence ever came out of that unit in its years of existence”.
Sarsour said the end of the program was welcome, but added by the time it was shut down, “it had already accomplished its mission to map the Muslim community. They know where we are.”
The history of the Euopean & the European Community-
Euopean-Americans are the bottom of the shoe of ancient europe
they landed on N. America and brought all types of disease with them
them being the pilgrims and shit has been f*ucked up ever since european-americans
were discovered in the caucasus mountains by a Black Explorer crawling on all fours along with their best friend
the ‘DOG’ so yeah they envy people of color and our history so the caucasians imitate us
which is the highest form of flattery there is no such thing as ‘white people’
they don’t want the world to know who they really are, which are the people who emerged from the caves thousands of years ago
‘The Caveman and woman that’s their ‘HISTORY’