The Associated Press recently ran a story about the New York Police Department keeping tabs on various Muslim student organizations across the North-East. Several universities across the country have been affected including Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.
The NYPD tries to defend their actions by claiming they are merely trying to thwart terrorist attacks against the United States. They even claim their espionage campaigns against American Muslims have helped catch potential terrorists. Maybe it has; spy on enough people for a long enough time and you’re bound to find some of them wrapped up in illegal activity.
It seems this country is losing respect for its own citizens. Respect for our privacy has long been in conflict with this War on Terror but also a lack of respect for our freedom of religion.
The report shows agents monitoring various Muslim student groups online and keeping profiles on various Muslim students. At one point, the police department even went so far as to send an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting outing to collect information on the students who attended, including recording how many times a day they prayed.
Is it really the business of any police department what religion any of us choose to belong to? Should how many times we pray a day be recorded in some official police document? I don’t think so. Dr. George Tiller was assassinated because his clinic provided abortion services to women, yet no one wants to keep tabs on fundamentalist Christians. Why the double standard?
The fact is this country wasn’t attacked by a bunch of religious fanatics hell-bent on killing Americans because they weren’t Muslim. We were attacked by Middle-Eastern political extremists who hated our military intervention in Middle-Eastern countries. There is no reason to associate terrorism with Islam.
Ferris State University has a Muslim population who certainly doesn’t deserve some government agent following them around just because of their religion. This kind of action is intolerable in any sort of free society.
It’s time to bring an end not just to this presumptuous Islamophobia, but to all forms of governmental violation of our privacy. We have a right to keep our business our business, so to all government spies: Leave us alone. n