NYPD Spied on 250 Mosques, Student Groups

Undercover agents monitored groups' activities

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 6, 2011 3:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – New York’s police department kept tabs on some 250 mosques and Muslim student groups in the metropolitan area, turning to undercover officers and informants to help monitor the organizations, an AP investigation finds. Confidential documents obtained by the news organization show a blend of anti-terror measures and monitoring of innocent people, write Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. The AP reported last month on a secret “Demographics Unit” that used undercover officers to eye Muslim communities; the documents offer further insight.

The police department, which works closely with the CIA and has received federal funding, analyzed the “ethnic orientation, leadership, and group affiliations” of some 250 local mosques, the 2006 documents say. Using plainclothes officers and informants, officials picked out 53 “mosques of concern,” where they installed undercover agents. While some Muslim groups were linked to criminal activity, others were probed for their ties to a major Egyptian mosque that was among the first to speak out against the 9/11 attacks. Click for more on the NYPD monitoring.

In this photo made Aug. 18, 2011, people pass below a New York Police Department security camera, upper left, which is above a mosque in Brooklyn.
In this photo made Aug. 18, 2011, people pass below a New York Police Department security camera, upper left, which is above a mosque in Brooklyn.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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