KARAMAH Calls for Federal Investigation into NYPD Misconduct

Washington, D.C. February 21, 2012

KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights renewed its request today for the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a federal investigation into repeated allegations of egregious misconduct by the New York Police Department (NYPD). The call came in response to a recent Associated Press news story portraying the department’s widespread unwarranted surveillance of constitutionally protected activities by American Muslim students attending U.S. universities all along the Northeast corridor.

Last year, KARAMAH requested the DOJ launch an investigation against the NYPD upon learning of reports concerning the agency’s mapping of religious and ethnic communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – without any indication of criminal wrong doing – while identifying where regular law-abiding American Muslims socialize, shop and pray.

Then again, last week, KARAMAH reiterated this request to the DOJ for a federal investigation into NYPD’s violation of American Muslim civil rights amid reports of the agency’s showing, appearing in and the cover up surrounding the blatantly racist and inflammatory anti-Muslim film, The Third Jihad, as well as its pervasive surveillance of Shiite mosques throughout the Tri-State area.

“Recurring allegations of the NYPD’s misplaced reliance upon religious and racial profiling techniques, without any credible indicia of criminal wrongdoing not only violates the constitutionally protected rights of the vast majority of peaceful, law-abiding American Muslims but it also makes for bad law enforcement,” stated Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, KARAMAH’s founder and chairperson.

Engy Abdelkader, vice president of KARAMAH and a NY/NJ based attorney added, “These most recent reports concerning the NYPD’s apparently unjustified spying on American Muslim students from Syracuse University to Yale to the University of Pennsylvania will only serve to further stigmatize an entire faith community as inherently suspect while also exacerbating a silent epidemic of anti-Muslim bullying in U.S. educational institutions. Appropriate recourse by our federal government as well as the New York Attorney General is necessary in order to curb further civil rights violations.”

According to the AP report, the NYPD has monitored college students – without any evidence of terrorist activity – at more than a dozen Northeast universities including: Yale University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, New York University, Clarkson University, the Newark and New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers University, the State University of New York campuses in Buffalo, Albany, Stony Brook and Potsdam, Queens College, Baruch College, Brooklyn College and La Guardia Community College. In one such instance of surveillance, an undercover officer accompanied unsuspecting students on a white water rafting trip and noted the frequency with which individuals participated in the Islamic ritual prayer, a constitutionally protected activity.

[Contact: Engy Abdelkader, 202.234.7302]

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