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Sunday, 28 May 2006
FBI accused of doing its job
Last week, if you remember, a jihad Muslim was convicted of plotting to blow up Americans and their subways here in NYC.  It is possible he will spend the rest of his life in enforced peacefulness:

 "Pakistani man was convicted of planning to blow up a New York subway station ahead of the Republican National Convention held before the 2004 presidential election.

Shahawar Matin Siraj, 24, could face life in prison for conspiring to plant explosives at the 34th Street subway station near Madison Square Garden, where the political gathering took place, according to the Justice Department.

Another man, James Elshafay, pleaded guilty in October 2004 to participating in the plot and later testified against Siraj.

The federal jury in Siraj's five-week trial heard hours of secretly recorded conversations between him and an Egyptian nuclear engineer who became a paid informant for the New York City Police Department, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Local Muslims were aghast:

Muslims in Bay Ridge, some who knew Siraj and some who did not, expressed anger at the disclosure that the NYPD spied on them.

“This was a confirmation of what we already knew … and have known since 9-11,” said Linda Sarsour, a Muslim activist who prays at the same Islamic Society of Bay Ridge mosque where Siraj occasionally worshipped.

Sarsour and others said the NYPD spying program would convince people that Muslims are guilty until proven innocent.

“I am an American citizen, like everyone else,” said Abdel Hamid Hassan, who brought his two children to pray at the mosque last week. “[The danger] is not us — we live here. How could I destroy the place I live in? Everybody I know follows the rules of this country.”

Sarsour especially complained about “raids” of cafes frequented by Muslims along 69th Street and Fifth Avenue, with authorities asking patrons for identification and taking some away for questioning. Police vans hover outside the mosque and FBI agents sometimes leave business cards on people’s doors, she said.

“[The suspicion] causes people to not be active in the community, to be isolated,” said Sarsour. “People go to from work to home, from school to home.

“Last week, we had a Palestinian march, and there should have been 2,000 people at least [but] there were [only] 350 or so,” added Sarsour. “No one wants to give political opinions.”

Islamic Society spokesman Wael Mousfar said the NYPD spying program “has put fear in people’s lives. It’s not a good feeling. People feel very uncomfortable doing anything, talking to anyone, even gathering together.”

“I don’t think that surveillance of any ethnic or racial group is a good tool,” said Maria Haberfeld, chair of the law, police science and criminal justice administration department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “In fact, it can breed problems and alienate the group or community.”

John Jay College is, of course, part of the City University of New York, a taxpayer-funded institution that, fortunately, also produces some fine law enforcers.  
Posted on 05/28/2006 6:16 AM by Robert Bove
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