WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Monday it has no control over how the New York Police Department spends millions of dollars in White House grants that helped pay for NYPD programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance. In New York, the police commissioner said he wouldn’t apologize.
The White House has no opinion about how the grant money was spent, spokesman Jay Carney said. The Associated Press reported Monday that the White House money has paid for the cars that plainclothes NYPD officers used to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods and paid for computers that stored even innocuous information about Muslim college students, mosque sermons and social events.
The money is part of a little-known grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA. It’s unclear exactly how much was spent on surveillance of Muslims because the HIDTA program has little oversight.
In New York, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was again unapologetic. Kelly said that some local politicians who questioned the NYPD’s methods were pandering to voters in upcoming elections, and said that others — including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Newark Mayor Cory Booker — were wrong to question the department.
“Not everybody is going to be happy with everything the police department does, that’s the nature of our business,” Kelly said. “But our primary mission, our primary goal is to keep this city safe, to save lives. That’s what we’re engaged in doing.”
News Agencies – February 20, 2012
French suburbs are becoming ‘Muslim land’, French journalist and historian Alexandre Adler told France Info. Adler also said that many French Muslims want this, and that he’s concerned about the self-administration against the State in those neighborhoods. Adler said the violence in the banlieues can’t be explained only as social problems, and that it’s due to the Muslim doctrine that wherever Islam spreads is Muslim land.
News Agencies – November 23, 2011
A 23 year-old man was shot in the street in the Reynerie neighborhood of Toulouse, France. Several people were arrested. There was a lot of tension in Reynerie after the death of the young man, executed with 9mm bullets in the middle of the street. Samir Chorfi, a resident of the neighborhood known to the police, was mortally wounded by several bullets and died in hospital. Large police forces were deployed to control the crowd.
Local residents are shocked and concerned about the increasing violence. “We do not want our children to die in our neighborhoods”. In order to calm the situation, a loudspeaker broadcast passages from the Qur’an.
The New York Police Department put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The documents describe in extraordinary detail a secret program intended to catalog life inside Muslim neighborhoods as people immigrated, got jobs, became citizens and started businesses. The documents undercut the NYPD’s claim that its officers only follow leads when investigating terrorism.
It was called the Moroccan Initiative. It started with one group, Moroccans, but the documents show police intended to build intelligence files on other ethnicities. U.S. citizens were among those subjected to surveillance. Current and former officials said the information collected by the Demographics Unit was kept on a computer inside the squad’s offices at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. It was not connected to the department’s central intelligence database, they said.
“A lot of these locations were innocent,” said an official involved in the effort, who, like many others interviewed by the AP, spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive police operations. “They just happened to be in the community.”
New York City law prohibits police from using race, religion or ethnicity as “the determinative factor” for any law enforcement action. Civil liberties advocates have said that guideline is so ambiguous it makes the law unenforceable. The NYPD has said intelligence officers do not use racial profiling or troll ethnic neighborhoods for information.
14 August 2008
The New York Times provides a profile of Dutch multiculturalism and anti-Islam sentiment this week. In the wake of the tragedy in Norway and the sympathies killer Anders Behring Breivik with the anti-immigrant right in the Netherlands, attention has focused on “the sometimes violent European backlash against Islam and its challenge to national values” whose origins the article places in the Netherlands. The article cites tensions in multicultural Amsterdam neighborhoods, the emergence of populist politicians such as Geert Wilders who say “what many people think and don’t want to say”, and the increasing tendency for asking “Who am I? Where am I really from? Can I be Dutch?” amongst those living in the country.
Fadéla Amera, secretary of state for urban policies in the conservative UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) party, has announced new incentives for the government’s “Hope Suburbs” project. Among them are a 10% tax initiative for schools which accept students from “difficult” neighborhoods and more banlieusard (suburban-living) youths being hired at the Roissy airport. Those working on the project claim to have a pragmatic approach.
After several immigrants of South Asian backgrounds were beaten in Rome in the last couple of weeks, a leader of the Pakistani community in the city said that episodes of racism in the Italian capital are on the rise. “Episodes of racism are on the rise in Rome, above all in certain neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city which are full of hate and frustration,” said Ejaz Ahmad of the Consulta Islamica. Ahmed cited deteriorated conditions of neighborhoods in which minorities live, saying that there are political interests involved in the lack of concern for neighborhood infrastructure. Most recently, a Pakistani immigrant was left in a coma after being beaten last week by five Italian youths, in what investigators are saying was a racially-motivated attack.
Several neighborhoods in Brussels have made certain areas “no go zones” for police officers. These areas are places that cannot be patrolled by police without being pelted by rocks, attacked, or having their police vehicles damaged. These neighborhoods contain a mostly immigrant origin, Muslim population, and police report that the such instances are mostly carried out by young, mostly Muslim young people. These young people have accused the Belgian police with racism, which appears to fuel the cycle.
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Vlaams Belang introduced a campaign called Stop Islamization in Ghent. The party plans to distribute twenty thousand pamphlets in neighborhoods most fiercely hit by Islamization. The campaign includes demands against subsidizing Islam, questionable marriages, ritual slaughter, and includes stricture regulations for the development of mosques and a headscarf ban for teachers.
Witnesses and immigrants say that a gang armed with sticks and baseball bats attacked three shops in Rome, run by Bangladeshi immigrants. Shop windows were smashed in the heavily populated immigrant neighborhood, but no one was injured in the attacks. One shopkeeper in the neighborhoods who witnessed the attacks said that the attackers wore ski masks and yelled Bastards! Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno condemned the attacks.