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Homeland Security

Universities Criticize NYC Police for Monitoring Muslim Students

February 22, 2012

Bernard Shusman | New York

Yale University President Richard Levin has denounced the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim students at his university and at least 15 other universities in the Northeastern United States. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends the action.

Yale President Levin says police surveillance based on a person's religion, nationality or personal belief is antithetical to the values of the university and the academic community at large.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the action of his city's police department’s monitoring of primarily Muslim student activities at universities in several states, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Bloomberg said the anti-terrorist activity defends Yale’s core values.

“Yale’s freedom to do research, to teach, to give people a place to say what they want to say is defended by the law enforcement throughout this country that works very hard to make sure that we are safe. And the terrorists want to take away the very values that Yale has, and expounds and survives with, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen," he said.

The controversy over the surveillance is a critical issue New York City's Muslims. Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, the president of New York’s Islamic Leadership Council says the New York Police Department has penetrated deep within the Muslim community.

"[They are] surveilling the Muslim community from top to bottom and side to side, without any warrant, not only listening in and infiltrating mosques but elementary schools, Muslim parochial schools where our children are, college clubs, social gathering places. The extent of this surveillance is totally unprecedented," he said.

Still to weigh in are groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights. One question likely to be raised is the right of the New York City police department to conduct surveillance outside the city.

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