NYPD Monitors Muslim Students Associations Across Northeast | Rutgers & Yale Statements

Statement from Rutgers University

February 20, 2012

Rutgers University takes great pride in the diversity of our student body, and we work hard to make sure that all students feel safe and welcome at all of our campuses. Rutgers University had no knowledge at the time that the New York Police Department (NYPD) was conducting surveillance near the university’s campuses in Newark and New Brunswick. Once the university learned that these activities had occurred, Rutgers was informed that the NYPD’s investigation was not within the university’s legal jurisdiction. The university was not aware that members of the Rutgers community were allegedly targets of this investigation.Given the concerns raised by members of the Rutgers community, the university would welcome a thorough investigation by the NYPD of its own activities.

While all the facts are not known and the reasons for actions of the NYPD have not been shared with the university, it is important to state that Rutgers does not condone the surveillance of any members of our community based on their race, gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs.

Message from Yale University President- Richard Levin

I am writing to state, in the strongest possible terms, that police surveillance based on religion, nationality, or peacefully expressed political opinions is antithetical to the values of Yale, the academic community, and the United States. Also I want to make sure our community knows that the Yale Police Department has not participated in any monitoring by the NYPD and was entirely unaware of NYPD activities until the recent news reports.

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As news breaks out about the New York Police Department surveillances of Muslim Students across the East Coast, Rutgers University Muslim Alumni Association has been active in engaging in dialogue with the Rutgers Administration to ensure the safety of all students and faculty members as well as launching a “Know Your Rights” campaign for the student body on the campuses to make sure that student safety is not compromised and that the university remains a safe place for students to share their views. Rutgers University is the state university of New Jersey and the largest institution of higher learning in the state.

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From the wall Street Journal based on an Associated Press report: The NYPD monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned.

Police talked with local authorities about professors 300 miles away in Buffalo and even sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students’ names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.

Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Asked about the monitoring, police spokesman Paul Browne provided a list of 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism charges in the United States and abroad who had once been members of Muslim student associations, which the NYPD referred to as MSAs. Jesse Morton, who this month pleaded guilty to posting online threats against the creators of “South Park,” had once tried to recruit followers at Stony Brook University on Long Island, Browne said.

“As a result, the NYPD deemed it prudent to get a better handle on what was occurring at MSAs,” Browne said in an email. He said police monitored student websites and collected publicly available information, but did so only between 2006 and 2007.

“I see a violation of civil rights here,” said Tanweer Haq, chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Syracuse. “Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever. Muslim students want to have their own lives, their own privacy and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that everybody else has.”  -Wall Street Journal

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Here is a pdf of a NYPD Weekly MSA Report

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7 responses to “NYPD Monitors Muslim Students Associations Across Northeast | Rutgers & Yale Statements”

  1. Abu Yusuf says:

    This is hardly a surprise. Even the MM blog is monitored even though it’s the most pro-government and pro-American of all Muslim websites.

  2. Muhammad says:

    Jawad, I think you are overreacting. Surveillance is not happening in your bedroom. It is happening at MSA events, which is not a problem. Police enforcement can, in fact, benefit from this and learn more good things about Islam while doing such an assignment. It also keeps extremist Muslims in check, which is good for the majority of moderate Muslims in this country. It is good to be emotional but also sensible, Insha’Allah.



  3. Annie says:

    I think this is a good think for non-Muslims, but also Muslims. If we are not extremists, we have nothing to hide. I feel that extremist Muslims hurt us Muslims more than anyone else. We should take this in a positive light.

    • James says:

       “First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I
      did not speak out;
      Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not
      one of them,
      so I did not speak out;
      Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out.
      And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

      • Annie says:

        I don’t understand how this is an issue. In the past, any community with bad apples has been monitored. If this is an issue of privacy, then the NYPD are monitoring public events. I’d have a problem with it if it was spying at homes.

        All I know is that if the police is good at their job, and our imams are good at condemning terrorism, then there will be fewer instances of terrorism. And I will be really happy about that, because the stigma faced as a Muslim is getting way to high because of terrorist activities.

  4. James says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, an attack on anyones rights and privacy must always be defended against, for it’s an attack upon everyones privacy. Don’t give the state, the government, the police any leeway. This isn’t a slippery slope argument, it’s about keeping everyone’s rights protected everywhere. If you haven’t seen the things that the PATRIOT Act allowed, I would recommend you look it up now. Don’t wait for anything to get so bad that you have to stand up against it, because by then it’s already too late. 

    • Muhammad says:

      Gentleman, the FBI monitored public Muslim events, not private events, and therefore this is not an invasion of privacy. The FBI was there to ensure that no extremist was manipulating the Muslim masses. Why else would they have monitored such events? Law enforcement have reasons to monitor and be concerned. Would-be terrorists among Muslims were caught in the nick of time only because they were monitored by law enforcement. Had they not been monitored and apprehended, the implications could have been catastrophic — not just for America but especially for the image of the peace loving faith of Islam. Please think before being emotional.  

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