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Religious Leaders Petition Bloomberg to End NYPD Muslim Spying

March 16, 2012, 10:09 am | Posted by Tara Culp-Ressler

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has come under recent scrutiny for supporting the New York Police Department’s massive surveillance operation on Muslim communities and individuals, a broad, unethical intelligence-gathering program that has come to light over the last few months. As a series of investigative pieces by the Associated Press revealed, the NYPD has been targeting Shiite Muslims not because of any previous crimes or wrongdoing, but simply based on their religion. Despite this, Bloomberg continues to deny any practice of religious profiling.

This week, more than two dozen religious groups condemned Bloomberg for continually defending NYPD’s Muslim surveillance. In a letter delivered to Bloomberg’s office, religious leaders (including FPL’s own executive director, Jennifer Butler) called on the mayor to put an end to religious discrimination and profiling.

“As religious leaders, we are concerned that constitutionally-protected activities, like religious practice and assembly, have been cited as possible reasons to suspect criminal activity. Additionally, we bear a sacred responsibility to honor America’s varied faith traditions and to promote a culture of mutual respect and the assurance of religious freedom for all…We urge you to conduct an urgent and thorough investigation into the practices of the NYPD to ensure that the agency’s trainings and practices support the constitutionally-protected right to worship without scrutiny for every religious community.”

The letter goes on to ask Bloomberg to eliminate false and offensive NYPD training materials, such as the extremely Islamophobic film that NYPD showed its recruits last year.

It’s encouraging to see diverse religious leaders rallying to support the Muslim community and reminding our elected officials that eroding trust between the Muslim community and law enforcement only makes us less safe. Hopefully, Bloomberg will reaffirm his previous commitments to religious pluralism and denounce NYPD’s harmful profiling program.

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