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Friday, April 20, 2012

Singling Us Out: NYPD's Spying on Muslim Americans Creates Fear and Distrust.

By Elizabeth Dann, a third-year law student and the Outreach Chair for NYU Law School's Muslim Law Students Association
Elizabeth Dann
The NYPD's spying on American Muslims has sent waves of shock and fear throughout our community. I and other community members feel betrayed by our own police force, and the fact that it's the police singling out Muslims for unfair treatment makes us all deeply concerned that other parts of society see us as suspect, too, even though we've done nothing wrong.
I am a convert to Islam. When the stories of the NYPD's surveillance activities broke and described the NYPD's targeting of converts for its spying operations, I confided my fear to my husband that other Muslims might think I was a police informant, and that I might be a target of surveillance because I am a convert. These are profoundly disturbing and alienating feelings to have.
As an Irish American, and someone whose ancestors came to the United States before the Revolutionary War, I am particularly angry with and disappointed in Commissioner Ray Kelly. Has Commissioner Kelly forgotten the prejudice and bigotry that Irish Americans and Catholics have suffered in this country? Why is he subjecting other immigrants and religious minorities to that kind of racial and religious profiling and stigma?