The New York Police Department’s intelligence division focused far beyond New York City as part of a surveillance program targeting Muslims, reports the Associated Press. Police trawled daily through student websites run by Muslim student groups at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers, and 13 other colleges in the Northeast. They talked with local authorities about professors in Buffalo and sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students’ names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.
Asked about the monitoring, police spokesman Paul Browne provided a list of 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism charges in the U.S. States and abroad who had once been members of Muslim student associations. “I see a violation of civil rights here,” said Tanweer Haq, chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Syracuse University. “Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever. Muslim students want to have their own lives, their own privacy and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that everybody else has.” AP has reported on secret programs the NYPD built with help from the CIA to monitor Muslims at the places where they eat, shop, and worship.