Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly did his best at a breakfast Saturday to explain and justify his department’s undercover surveillance in mosques and Muslim student associations within and outside the city.
There is every reason to believe that Islamic terrorists have and will continue to recruit both in mosques and student associations. The NYPD undercover officers are there to prevent another 9/11.
Nevertheless, it is not hard to understand why this offends Muslims, who see surveillance as trampling on their religious freedom. In claiming the spying is legal, Kelly appears to be referring to a court-ordered reform known as the Handschu agreement, which resulted from NYPD spying on leftist radicals in the 1960s.
The agreement prohibits the NYPD from investigating lawful political activity unless it has specific information that a suspect is, or is about to be, engaged in criminal conduct.
The city Islamic leaders are not convinced the current NYPD spying meets that standard.
The surveillance in mosques outside the city is even more complicated. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie complained that the NYPD is conducting this operation in his state without consulting with the state’s law enforcement.
The commissioner is a man of integrity who witnessed the most devastating attack on U.S. soil. But he needs to find a way to protect the city that does not trample on the rights of the city’s Muslims. At the same time, the city’s Islamic leaders must make a greater effort to ensure that their houses of prayer are not exploited by terrorists.
Mandingo’s Latest Victory
For decades, Queens activist Mandingo Tshaka has been a voice for the nation’s forgotten. In his most recent crusade, he has persuaded U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman to send a letter to the White House urging the president to recognize the contribution of slave labor in building the White House.
We applaud Tshaka for bringing this shameful part of America’s past to the nation’s attention. We trust President Barack Obama will do the right thing and make certain that future visitors to the White House will understand the role of slave labor in its construction.