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Bloomberg defends Muslim surveillance program: ‘We’re supposed to do that’

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In an interview with PBS Newshour last night, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the Muslim surveillance program that the city implemented after the 9/11 attacks.

“All of the people came from the same place and all that came were from a place they happened to be one religion. And if they’d been another religion, we would’ve done the same thing,” Bloomberg told PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, “It does not, incidentally, mean that all Muslims are terrorists or all terrorists are Muslim. But, the people that flew those airplanes came from the Middle East and some of the imams were urging more of the same.”

Bloomberg’s comments were immediately criticized by a number of Muslim organizations and civil rights groups.

“Today, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was finally required to address the discriminatory surveillance of American Muslims and Arab Americans by the New York Police Department under his tenure,” said Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry in a statement, “As Mayor, Michael Bloomberg surveilled where American Muslims ate, socialized, gathered, prayed and studied. The NYPD literally mapped our communities across three states, causing systemic self-censoring, distrust of any interaction with the government, and untold harm to our communities.”

“This is an insulting attempt to rewrite the history of an unconstitutional surveillance program that left Muslims, particularly in communities of color, devastated,” National Security Project director Hina Shamsi told NPR, “It took brave Muslims and their supporters to go to court before the NYPD finally agreed to reforms to safeguard communities in New York and beyond. And no court ever said that the NYPD’s discriminatory surveillance program under Bloomberg was lawful.”

“In the course of six years, the NYPD’s now-disbanded and incredibly illegal surveillance program of infiltrating and spying on Muslim communities, houses of worship and student clubs, generated zero criminal leads,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a statement, “CAIR believes that in addition to costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, the NYPD’s illegal spying program under Bloomberg’s leadership damaged the Muslim community’s trust in law enforcement and made it difficult for the NYPD to maintain open lines of communication.”

Bloomberg has been continually asked about his administration’s Stop & Frisk policy and allegations of workplace sexual harassment, but up until this point the issue of Muslim surveillance has not come up. During this week’s Democratic debate in South Carolina, Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan tweeted, “The CBS moderators are asking Bloomberg about his policy on sugary drinks and trans fats in New York. They won’t ask him about spying on Muslims in New York. Muslims have less value in the US media than sugary drinks and trans fats.” 

 

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Attention Michael Bloomberg!! Call out the authorities immediately!! http://www.palestinechronicle.com/us-athletes-kneel-down-during-israels-national-anthem-draw-accusations-of-anti-semitism-video/ “US Athletes Kneel Down during Israel’s National Anthem, Draw Accusations of ‘Anti-Semitism’ “(VIDEO) The Palestine Chronicle, Feb. 27/2020 “The politically-symbolic act of two young American athletes has been dubbed ‘antisemitic’ by Israel’s supporters on social media and among the various organizations that promote Israel’s interests in the United States. “The controversy started when two volleyball players from Brooklyn College decided to kneel down during Israel’s national… Read more »

I wonder how Mr. Money Bags would react if American Jews were under surveillance for 10 years in synagogues and temples in New York and New Jersey. The JDL is a banned terrorist group, has killed activists in the US, and Israel refused to cooperate with the CID when it investigated it’s members. Israel also bombed the USS Liberty, killed Rachel Corrie, has spied on us, including Pollard, who Netanyahu begged to be released (and… Read more »

@ wondering Jew Here’s the complete original article as written by Dave Zirin, sports editor for the Nation: https://www.thenation.com/article/society/brooklyn-college-volleyball-players-kneel/ “Athletes Take a Knee Against Israel’s Occupation” “Two volleyball players at Brooklyn College are facing a torrent of abuse for protesting during the Israeli national anthem.” By Dave Zirin, sports editor for the Nation “In August of 2016, quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his NFL season by kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and… Read more »

“We’re supposed to do that”…How did such an idiot became so rich???

Why are you quoting someone as incompetent and unethical as Nihad Awad on such an important topic? When you are the national founder, national board member with no term limits, and national executive director, you have immense power on how your nonprofit’s money is spent- including buying yourself a brand new SUV (and paying monthly insurance payments on it), paying expensive DC lawyers to shut down staff efforts to unionize, hiring attorneys to harass and… Read more »