The New York Police Department’s massive spying on mosques in the New York area and secretly earmarking them as terrorism organizations is “outrageous”, a human rights activist tells Press TV.
“It’s outrageous that an institution of spirituality is being targeted this way,” said Massoud Shadjareh, head of the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London.
“This targeting has got not only impacts on the civil liberties of Muslims, but it also gives the green light to those who attack Muslims and see Muslims as terrorists, which leads to hate crimes,” Shadjareh said in an interview with Press TV on Thursday.
According to interviews and confidential police documents recently obtained by The Associated Press, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques since the 9/11 attacks.
Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise allows police to spy on the imams even without specified evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the AP report said.
The terrorism designation also means that anyone who attends Muslim prayer services is a potential subject of an investigation and surveillance, according to the report.
The AP first revealed in 2011 that the NYPD was spying on Muslims in the city. The new documents show that the department investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files.
Shadjareh said that about 30 percent of Muslims in the US state of California have reported that they have been victims of physical attacks. He blamed US government institutions like the NYPD for such attacks on Muslims.