I heard about this story on the CBS Morning News show this morning and found it interesting.
The New York Police Department has been gathering secret intelligence files on various Muslim mosques and businesses in many of the states that surround New York. It has recorded license plate numbers of people attending services and obtained audio and video tape of various conversations, all in the name of trying to protect the city from another 09/11 style attack.
The New Jersey attorney general has reviewed what the NYPD is doing and found that nothing illegal is going on. It looks strange but it is not illegal.
I can try and imagine the feelings that are present in the groups of Muslims that are being watched. Being characterized based on actions of others who share aspects of the same faith. We could say that there is nothing to fear if they are doing nothing wrong, but shouldn’t we all have some privacy?
One of the groups that was in this lawsuit made a comment that the NYPD was specifically watching Iranian, Egyptian, and Syrian people but they were biased in that they were really only watching the Muslims from these groups and that was profiling. It is true that it is profiling, but it is the Muslims from this group that are killing the minorities in these groups. You do not see the Coptic’s from Egypt launching terrorist attacks or just brutally killing Egyptian Muslims. You never hear of Iranian Jews calling out for the deaths of Muslims. Yes it is racial profiling, but there is a basis for this profiling. The minority members of these groups are not committing terrorist activities. It is the Muslims who are the violent ones.
I would not like it if I was being watched and recorded. I have nothing to fear, but the invasion of privacy is not pleasant to anyone. What happens though when what I feel is normal as seen as abnormal? I am not trying to justify the acts of the more traditional Muslims, but Jews were not doing anything wrong when Hitler started picking them up. Can we be sure that we will not be watched the same way as the violent groups just because our ideology differs from the leadership in charge of the government at the time?
I am mixed on my reaction to this. I can see how I would want their civil liberties to remain protected, because once one group loses them, it is not long before other groups will as well. on the other side, I do not want my nation to face another attack or act of violence like what has happened at the hands of Muslims who hate those who are not of them.