Archive for Mosques

Leaked NYPD Document Lists Watched Mosques, Islamic Schools

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by loonwatch

More on the NYPD spying debacle:

Leaked NYPD Document Lists Watched Mosques, Islamic Schools

By ELIZABETH FLOCK

A former police reporter leaked a list of monitored areas the NYPD watched as part of a questionable program used to spy on Muslims

A website dedicated to following the New York City Police Department published a document Monday detailing Islamic schools, NGOs, mosques, student associations, and persons of interest that were monitored by the NYPD in 2006 as part of its secret and legally questionable program to spy on Muslims.

The program was first exposed in an Pulitzer Prize-winning series by the Associated Press last year.

Leonard Levitt, a former Newsday police reporter who runs NYPD Confidential, writes Monday that the NYPD’s own Intelligence Division document from 2006 refute claims that the police force is innocent.

According to the new document, NYPD’s undercover officers or informants infiltrated places as varied as the Westchester Muslim Center mosque, an Islamic student association at Brooklyn College, and the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR).

“It doesn’t suprise me at all,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. “It seems every organization, leader, mosque, and cab driver was on their list… But what we’re concerned about is the individual Muslims who were targeted for this spy campaign without a warrant or any evidence of wrongdoing on anyone’s part.”

In all, NYPD compiled information on 250 mosques, 12 Islamic schools, 31 Muslim student associations, 263 “ethnic hotspots,” such as restaurants and businesses, and 138 “persons of interest,” according to NYPD Confidential.

While the AP also published a number of NYPD documents as part of its ongoing series, today’s 2006 Intelligence Division documents appear to be newly leaked.

Levitt writes that he felt compelled to publish it because of attempts by Mitchell Silber, who recently left the NYPD intelligence department, to discredit the AP’s work. Silber has written in multiple publications that the AP’s work is “rife with inaccuracies.”

Levitt writes that the monitoring outlined in the 2006 document is so “sweeping” that it “resembled files of the former Communist East German secret police.”

Requests for comment from the NYPD, Westchester Muslim Center and Brooklyn College Islamic Society were not immediately returned.

Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report.You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her onTwitter and Facebook.

UK: Arrest Over Racist Graffiti at Wakefield Mosque

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by loonwatch

More vandalism of Mosques in the UK and Europe (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Arrest over racist graffiti at Wakefield mosque

Racist yobs scrawled graffiti on the side of a mosque. The offensive slogan was daubed on the side of the Markazi Jamia Masjid Mosque, on Grange Street.

The Central neighbourhood police team (NPT) arrested an 18-year-old man from Darnley this afternoon. Officers believe another suspect was also involved in the attack which happened on April 20.

Anyone with information should contact the NPT on 101.

Wakefield Express, 23 May 2012

John McAndrew Banned from Mosques after EDL Attack in Dagenham

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer‘s favorite UK anti-Muslim organization:

Thug Banned from Mosques after EDL Attack in Dagenham

(London2)

A thug who attacked two men at a rally against a Muslim place of worship has been banned from going near London mosques for five years.

John McAndrew, 29, was jailed for 14 months after throwing large stones onto a busy road and then the following month assaulting two men at an English Defence League demo against a mosque and cultural centre in Green Lane, Dagenham.

Last week, McAndrew was given an Asbo stopping him from going near Muslim schools and places of worship until 2017 and taking part in any EDL demos in England for life.

In a statement released by the Met Police last week, Barking and Dagenham Pc Mark Gellard said: “John McAndrew is an individual whose often violent behaviour is linked with his attendance at demonstrations and protests, particularly surrounding the English Defence League.

“This behaviour affects those who live, work and frequent the areas where some of these demonstrations have taken place.”

McAndrew, of Grange Road, Plaistow, was given a conviction related Asbo at Woolwich Crown Court on February 20.

The Asbo will stop him from attending Islamic festivals for five years and from publicising and attending any rally run by, or in conjunction with, the EDL in England and Wales for the rest of his life.

McAndrew was jailed at Woolwich Crown Court on December 7. He was given four months after admitting common assault against the two men at an EDL rally in Dagenham on June 18, 2011.

He received another four months for affray after admitting throwing large stones onto the A4 dual carriageway during rush hour traffic at another EDL protest at the Hammersmith Flyover on May 11, 2011, police added.

McAndrew was given six months for breaching a suspended sentence for affray at a Poundmart store in Woolwich on September 10, 2009.

He was also sentenced to four weeks, to run concurrently, for two counts of failing to surrender to police.

Attacks on Bulgarian mosques: ‘This hatred is new to us’

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch

Burning guard post in front of Roma leader's house

Muslims and Roma may be the new scapegoats in Bulgaria.

Attacks on Bulgarian mosques: ‘This hatred is new to us’

Anna Zacharias

Violent ethnic riots swept Bulgaria weeks before this Sunday’s presidential elections, following the killing of a teenager by a man with links to a local Roma crime boss. Originally aimed at highlighting the alleged corruption of “Tsar” Kiril Rashkov, these demonstrations soon spread across the country, before ugly scenes developed. Rioters turned on ethnic minorities and Muslims and attacked mosques in both Sofia, the capital, and Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city.

A few months earlier, politicians and the public had gathered to show their support for a unified Bulgaria following violent demonstrations outside Sofia’s historic Banya Bashi mosque. But what began as a “peaceful protest” against the volume of loudspeakers that broadcast the call to prayer, ended with supporters of Ataka, the ultra-nationalist party, setting fire to prayer mats and pelting worshippers with stones.

Some observers equated this attack with the creep of Islamophobia being seen in parts of western Europe. Yet it came as a shock to many in a country that prides itself on its history of religious tolerance.

“[That] was something nobody expected,” said Mustafa Alish Hadji, the grand mufti and leader of Muslims in Bulgaria, following the protests. “It is worrying for Muslims and Christians because it [creates] tension that didn’t exist before.”

Ethnic distinctions have become a favoured topic to exploit in the country’s post-communist political landscape, particularly since Ataka won 9.36 per cent of the vote in the 2009 parliamentary elections, establishing an informal coalition with the governing centre-right party.

But, while Ataka’s hardline rhetoric has served it well, the mosque protests did not get the expected results – ethnic sectarianism is accepted in Bulgaria, religious sectarianism is not. The public laid flowers at the mosque and opposition politicians denounced the attacks as a publicity stunt in the preamble to this Sunday’s municipal and presidential elections, in which Volen Siderov, the Ataka leader, is running for president using the campaign slogan, “I am your weapon, use it”.

Ataka was condemned in a declaration by Parliament to be “dangerous to the government” with an attitude “completely foreign to the Bulgarian people and their religious and ethnic tolerance”.

Irrespective of ethnicity, Bulgarian Muslims face prosecution because they are considered “Turkish” and associated with the rule of the Ottoman empire.

While myths of the terrible Turk are ubiquitous in Bulgarian culture – painted on churches and reenacted in village celebrations – so, too, is a strong sense of religious acceptance.

“This hatred is new to us,” said Hadji. “It’s the first time we have seen such nationalism and seen such hatred towards others. Most Muslims are rural. The problem is not in rural areas, it is in towns and in cities. Nationalism has more power [there] than in the villages,” he said. “In the city, people don’t know each other so well. In the village, Muslims and Christians live and pray together. Nationalism has no way to separate them.”

Nowhere is this religious tolerance better exemplified than in the villages of the Rhodope mountains, where minarets rise above thick clusters of pine trees and Muslims and Christians live side by side.

On the same day that blood stained the steps of the Banya Banshi mosque in Sofia, a three-day wedding was underway in the village of Musfata Alish Hadji. The celebration shared by Christians and Muslims exemplifies Bulgaria’s comfortable blend of Slavic and Eastern traditions. Women with red sequins glued bindi-style to the centre of their brow began the festivities by ring dancing to a pop song. Their performance was followed by belly dancing and exclamations in Greek and Arabic. Around tables spread with banitsa pastry and halva sweets, wedding guests spoke of their shock at the Sofia attacks.

Ramadan, a lorry driver in his thirties who had previously worked in Spain, said Bulgaria was among the most tolerant places in Europe for Muslims.

“The racism in Spain is horrible,” he said. “In the south, they treat us Muslims like s***, they swear at us. This doesn’t happen here. We are respected.”

NYPD Spying on Mosques, Muslim Restaurants, and Muslim Students

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by loonwatch

As someone with anti-establishment and anti-authority views, it is no surprise that I’ve been (and still am) highly critical of the military, the CIA, and the FBI for some time now.  Now I’m adding the police to that list.  I’m critical of police brutality, the racism that runs rife through the force, the heavy-handed tactics they use, and their lack of transparency.  And now there’s this: the NYPD caught spying on Muslims, including college-going students.

What perfectly encapsulates the National Security State is the police illegally spying on citizenry on the one hand (in violation of the Fourth Amendment) while on the other hand working hard to prohibit citizens from taping police officers in public doing their job (a denial of our First Amendment right).  Those in authority have the right to know what websites you browse on the internet in the confines of your bedroom while you have no right to know anything about those in authority even when it directly affects you.

The targets of the National Security State are first and foremost Muslims, who are at the bottom of America’s totem pole.  In any case, here is the article from The Associated Press:

By Adam Goldman, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department compiled lists of mosques and Muslim businesses it saw as potential security risks for reasons that included endorsing conservative religious views or having devout customers, according to hundreds of pages of internal police documents newly obtained by The Associated Press.

The records reveal the extent of an undercover effort that initially studied more than 250 mosques in New York and New Jersey and identified hundreds more “hot spots” in a hunt for terrorists. Many showed obvious signs of criminal behavior, but the police explanations for targeting others were less clear.

A Bangladeshi restaurant, for instance, was identified as a hot spot for having a “devout crowd.” The restaurant was noted for being a “popular meeting location for political activities.”

The documents obtained by the AP, many of which were marked secret, paint the clearest picture yet of how the past decade’s hunt for terrorists also put huge numbers of innocent people under scrutiny as they went about their daily lives in mosques, restaurants and social groups. Every day, undercover officers and informants filed reports from their positions as “listening posts” inside Muslim communities.

At the White House, where President Barack Obama recently urged local authorities not to cast suspicion on entire communities, spokesman Jay Carney declined to comment Tuesday on whether it endorsed the tactics outlined in the NYPD documents.

An AP investigation last month revealed that the department maintains a list of “ancestries of interest” that it uses to focus its clandestine efforts. A secret team known as the Demographics Unit then dispatched plainclothes officers into the community to eavesdrop in cafes and chat up business owners.

That effort has benefited from federal money and an unusually close relationship with the CIA, one that at times blurred the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence-gathering.

After identifying more than 250 area mosques, police officials determined the “ethnic orientation, leadership and group affiliations,” according to the 2006 police documents. Police also used informants and teams of plainclothes officers, known as rakers, to identify mosques requiring further scrutiny, according to an official involved in that effort, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the program.

Armed with that information, police then identified 53 “mosques of concern” and placed undercover officers and informants there, the documents show.

Many of those mosques were flagged for allegations of criminal activity, such as alien smuggling, financing Hamas or money laundering. Others were identified for having ties to Salafism, a hardline movement preaching a strict version of Islamic law. Still others were identified for what the documents refer to as “rhetoric.”

Other reasons are less clear.

Two mosques, for instance, were flagged for having ties to Al-Azhar, the 1,000-year-old Egyptian mosque that is the pre-eminent institute of Islamic learning in the Sunni Muslim world. Al-Azhar was one of the first religious institutions to condemn the 2001 terrorist attacks. President George W. Bush’s close adviser, Karen Hughes, visited Al-Azhar in 2005 and applauded its courage.

Al-Azhar was also a sponsor of Obama’s 2009 speech reaching out to the Muslim world.

The list of mosques where undercover agents or informants operated includes ones that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has visited and that area officials have mentioned as part of the region’s strong ties to the Muslim community. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stood beside leaders of some mosques on the list as allies in fighting terrorism.

The documents are a series of internal presentations, including one prepared for Kelly. Following the AP’s reporting, they were provided to the AP and veteran New York police reporter Leonard Levitt, who runs the website NYPDConfidential.com. Because the list of mosques is so long and explanation for the surveillance is so limited, the AP is not identifying the individual mosques that were under surveillance.

An NYPD spokesman did return messages seeking comment Monday, a holiday, and again Tuesday. The police department has said it follows leads and does not trawl entire neighborhoods.

New York police identified 263 “hot spots” throughout the city, the documents show. Like the mosques, the examples of hot spots ranged from businesses that sold untaxed cigarettes and where inflammatory rhetoric was overheard to those with less obvious criminal connections.

The example of the Bangladeshi restaurant flagged for its “devout” clientele further undercuts Bloomberg’s claim that the NYPD does not take religion into account in its policing. Last week the AP revealed that the NYPD maintained a list of “ancestries of interest” that included “American Black Muslim,” which is a religion, not an ancestry.

Police also kept tabs on seven of the area’s Muslim student associations, defined in the documents as “a university-based student group, with an Islamic focus, involved with religious and political activities.” Two were flagged for having Salafi speakers. One was cited for having students who are “politically active and are radicalizing.”

Since the AP reports, several Muslim civil rights groups and a New York congresswoman have urged the Justice Department to investigate the NYPD for what critics see as racial profiling. Under U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has stepped up investigations of local police departments for possible civil rights violations, but none involves national security cases.

Apuzzo and Goldman can be reached at dcinvestigations(at)ap.org or at http://twitter.com/mattapuzzo and http://twitter.com/goldmandc

With CIA help, NYPD built secret effort to monitor mosques, daily life of Muslim neighborhoods

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on August 29, 2011 by loonwatch

NYPD

With CIA help, NYPD built secret effort to monitor mosques, daily life of Muslim neighborhoods

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Police Department has become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The operations have benefited from unprecedented help from the CIA, a partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying.

The department has dispatched undercover officers, known as “rakers,” into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They’ve monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even when there’s no evidence of wrongdoing.

Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which has given NYPD more than $1.6 billion since 9/11, is told exactly what’s going on.

Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD’s intelligence unit.

A veteran CIA officer, while still on the agency’s payroll, was the architect of the NYPD’s intelligence programs. The CIA trained a police detective at the Farm, the agency’s spy school in Virginia, then returned him to New York, where he put his new espionage skills to work inside the United States.

And just last month, the CIA sent a senior officer to work as a clandestine operative inside police headquarters.

The NYPD denied that it trolls ethnic neighborhoods and said it only follows leads. Police operations have disrupted terrorist plots and put several would-be killers in prison.

“The New York Police Department is doing everything it can to make sure there’s not another 9/11 here and that more innocent New Yorkers are not killed by terrorists,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. “And we have nothing to apologize for in that regard.” AP’s investigation is based on documents and interviews with more than 40 current and former New York Police Department and federal officials. Many were directly involved in planning and carrying out these secret operations for the department. Though most said the tactics were appropriate and made the city safer, many insisted on anonymity, because they were not authorized to speak with reporters about security matters.

In response to the story, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading Muslim civil rights organization, called on the Justice Department to investigate. The Justice Department said Wednesday night it would review the request.

“This is potentially illegal what they’re doing,” said Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney with the organization.

After the terrorist attacks, New York hired retired CIA official David Cohen to transform its intelligence division.

Among Cohen’s earliest moves at the NYPD was asking for help from his old CIA colleagues. He needed someone who had access to the latest intelligence so the NYPD wouldn’t have to rely on the FBI to dole out information.

CIA Director George Tenet dispatched Larry Sanchez, a respected CIA veteran, to New York while Sanchez was still on the CIA payroll, three former intelligence officials said. Sanchez directed and mentored officers, schooling them in the art of gathering information, officials said.

There had never been an arrangement like it, and some senior CIA officials soon began questioning whether Tenet was allowing Sanchez to operate on both sides of the wall that’s supposed to keep the CIA out of the domestic intelligence business.

Read the rest…

Herman Cain: Americans Can Stop Mosques

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by loonwatch

This is a GOP candidate who is getting 6% of the popular vote right now, and this sort of rhetoric is acceptable for a large portion of Americans.

Herman Cain: Americans Can Stop Mosques

Herman Cain said Sunday that Americans should be able to ban Muslims from building mosques in their communities.

“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” Cain said in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people of that community do not like it. They disagree with it.”

Last week, the Republican presidential candidate expressed criticism of a planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, telling reporters at a campaign event that “This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Sharia law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that.”

“This isn’t an innocent mosque,” Cain said.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Wallace pressed him about those comments.

“Let’s go back to the fundamental issue,” Cain said. “Islam is both a religion and a set of laws — Sharia laws. That’s the difference between any one of our traditional religions where it’s just about religious purposes.”

“So, you’re saying that any community, if they want to ban a mosque…” Wallace began.

“Yes, they have the right to do that,” Cain said.

Cain has made a number of controversial comments about Muslims, including a vow to be cautious about allowing a Muslim to serve in his administration.

On Sunday, Cain defended his position, telling Wallace that it’s not discrimination.

“Aren’t you willing to restrict people because of their religion?” Wallace asked.

“I’m willing to take a harder look at people who might be terrorists, that’s what I’m saying,” Cain replied. “Look, I know that there’s a peaceful group of Muslims in this country. God bless them and they’re free to worship. If you look at my career I have never discriminated against anybody, because of their religion, sex or origin or anything like that.”

“I’m simply saying I owe it to the American people to be cautious because terrorists are trying to kill us,” Cain said, “so yes I’m going to err on the side of caution rather than on the side of carelessness.”

Original post: Herman Cain: Americans Have The Right To Ban Mosques In Their Communities