NY city council critical of police surveillance of Muslims

The New York Times reports: City Council members took aim on Thursday at the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims, pointedly questioning Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly about the breadth of the force’s undercover efforts in the decade since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

At an unusually intense hearing, several council members tried to pierce the secrecy that has largely surrounded the operations of the Intelligence Division, one of the department’s entities involved in counterterrorism investigations.

“It looks like we are targeting Muslim neighborhoods and communities,” Councilman Brad Lander said. “That’s not good for us. We have people out there who are partners who feel the trust is betrayed.”

The hearing, which lasted over an hour, unfolded before an audience packed with Muslim organizers, civil liberties lawyers and others, including the mother of a Queens man serving a 30-year prison sentence for plotting an attack at the Herald Square subway station in 2004.

The questioning revolved mostly around a series of recent articles by The Associated Press examining the department’s focus on Muslim communities in the New York metropolitan area and efforts to identify “hot spots,” like mosques and other gathering places.

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