Iraqi woman fatally beaten in El Cajon, California buried in native country (Iraq)

A 32-year-old Iraqi immigrant fatally beaten in her home in El Cajon was buried in her native country over the weekend.

Shaima Alawadi, who was found unconscious March 21 by her 17-year-old daughter, was buried in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

“Oh God, take revenge on those responsible,” Nabil Alawadi screamed in anguish, according to the Associated Press, during the funeral for his daughter. “We are shocked by this criminal act against my daughter who called for love and tolerance.”

Shaima Alawadi’s daughter allegedly found her on the floor in the dining room with a “threatening note” by her side, El Cajon police said. Three days later, her family opted to end life support.

House Democrats decry Bloomberg’s ‘underhanded’ response to concerns over NYPD Muslim spying

WASHINGTON — Ten House Democrats, including a member of the party’s leadership and lawmakers who oversee intelligence and homeland security matters, have criticized New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his “underhanded and unprofessional” response to criticism of the New York Police Department’s spying programs.

The Associated Press has reported for months that the NYPD systematically spied on Muslims neighborhoods, using informants and undercover officers to serve as “listening posts” in mosques and businesses in New York and New Jersey. Police documented the details of sermons, even when they were innocuous and peaceful, and infiltrated Muslim student groups on college campuses. NYPD officers catalogued where Muslims ate, eat and prayed — with no mention of criminal activity — and targeted Mosques using techniques typically reserved for criminal investigations.

The lawmakers asked Bloomberg to explain what exactly he knew about the NYPD’s intelligence operations and to explain how federal money was used.

Algeria doesn’t want French gunman’s body

News Agencies – March 28, 2012


A young man who claimed responsibility for France’s worst terror attacks in years will be buried Thursday in a Muslim cemetery near the southern city where he was killed in gunfight with police, religious leaders said. Burying Mohamed Merah is a sensitive issue for both his native France and his father’s native Algeria.

His father wanted him buried in a family plot in Algeria. Merah’s body was brought to the airport in the city of Toulouse, and his mother had been expecting to accompany it to Algiers on a flight later in the day. But Abdallah Zekri of the French Muslim Council, or CFCM, told The Associated Press that Algerian authorities refused for “reasons of public order.” Zekri had been liaising with Algerian authorities in Toulouse. Instead, Merah will be buried at the Muslim cemetery in Cornebarrieu, near Toulouse, Zekri said.

NYPD commissioner Kelly clashes with council over calls to regulate Muslim surveillance

NEW YORK — New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Thursday challenged city council members who want to create an inspector general to regulate the department’s surveillance of Muslims, saying his department needs no additional oversight.

In sometimes heated exchanges with council members at a budget hearing, Kelly defended his department’s counterterrorism surveillance program as well as another crime-fighting policy, the stopping, questioning and frisking of people on the street.

Some council members say they are deeply concerned by a series of stories by The Associated Press detailing the extent of the surveillance program, which overwhelmingly targeted Muslim ethnic groups in its hunt for suspicious activity.

NYPD anti-terror program exposes split between New Yorkers and people outside the big city

NEW YORK — Ten years after 9/11, the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims has exposed a bitter divide between New Yorkers and their neighbors across the Hudson River, with city leaders defending the police force and out-of-town politicians angry to learn of New York detectives working their turf.

In New York, where random searches in the subway are the norm and Lower Manhattan is a maze of security barriers and guardhouses, polls show many residents support the NYPD. Editorial pages have said broad surveillance is needed to protect the city.

But across the Hudson River in New Jersey, and increasingly in Washington, politicians have decried the NYPD’s programs, and newspapers have editorialized against the surveillance operations.

The intelligence-gathering was first reported by The Associated Press in August, but it wasn’t until February that its reporters obtained documents detailing how the NYPD monitored Muslims beyond the city limits.

NYPD: Shredding the Constitution

The massive surveillance program implemented by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in coordination with CIA officials is shredding the Constitution, putting at risk the rights and freedoms of Arab Americans and American Muslims. If left unchecked, their behavior will weaken the foundations of our democracy and seriously compromise our values as an open and inclusive society.

Revelations by the Associated Press have established that the NYPD, working with a few CIA officials, has been monitoring Arab and Muslim-owned businesses, mosques, and “mapping” areas of the city where high concentrations of Muslims and Arab immigrants are known to live. In order to accomplish these objectives, the NYPD has coerced and entrapped Muslims to act as spies.

Interfaith leaders: NYPD ‘singled out Muslims’

Interfaith leaders in Jersey City say they’re in solidarity with Muslims who feel reports of the NY Police Department conducting surveillance of mosques and Muslim student groups crossed the line beyond acceptable counter-terrorism methods. (The Associated Press)

4 AP reporters win Harvard investigative prize for stories on NYPD Muslim surveillance

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Four Associated Press reporters won the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting on Tuesday for a series of stories about the New York Police Department’s widespread surveillance of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan won the $25,000 prize for their extensive reporting on the spying programs that monitored and recorded life in Muslim communities.

Alex S. Jones, director of the center that gives out the prize, the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said the Goldsmith judges “found that the AP had shown great courage and fortitude in pursuing what they knew would be a very sensitive story, but it was one that needed to be told.”

The four reported that police monitored mosques and Muslims around the New York metropolitan area and kept tabs on Muslim student groups at universities in upstate New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The police also sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip with college students.

Police Leader’s Evolving Efforts to Defend Surveillance

It was still several hours before Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly was to meet with Muslim leaders whom he had invited to Police Headquarters on Tuesday. But the meeting was already drawing criticism, underscoring how precarious the commissioner’s scattershot style of aggressively defending his department’s counterterrorism efforts could be.

The closed-door meeting between Mr. Kelly and a half-dozen Muslim leaders was only the latest example of his attempts to manage the imbroglio. It has centered on the Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim communities in New York City and beyond, in places like New Jersey and Long Island, as well as its tracking of the Web sites of Muslim student organizations at colleges across the Northeast.

Muslim community leaders — some who were invited to the hourlong meeting and some who were not — laced into Mr. Kelly’s efforts, particularly over what they saw as his ploy to sidestep controversy by selecting the participants and meeting privately.

But the meeting also reflected an overall strategy that has been evolving for three weeks, even before a new round of revelations about the department’s monitoring and mapping of Muslims was disclosed in the latest of a series of articles by The Associated Press.

NYPD’s Kelly not apologizing for surveillance of Muslims in NJ, calls criticism ‘knee-jerk’

NEW YORK — New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has no plans to apologize for an intelligence program that has been keeping tabs on Muslims.

He said Monday that the NYPD won’t let up, despite criticism by some lawmakers in New Jersey who are upset that the department monitored communities in the Garden State. He says Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Robert Menendez and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were wrong to question the NYPD.

They were responding to the disclosure that NYPD officers devoted several months in 2007 to surveillance of Muslim communities in Newark. The result was a 60-page guide on Muslims in New Jersey’s largest city, which was obtained by The Associated Press.