New York Police Department officers monitored Muslim students at Yale and at least 14 other colleges around the northeast, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
Detectives went undercover and trawled the websites of Muslim student associations at colleges including the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, according to the AP. The names of students and professors were recorded in reports prepared for New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, though none were charged with any crime.
“I see a violation of civil rights here,” Tanweer Haq, chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Syracuse, told the AP. “Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever. Muslim students want to have their own lives, their own privacy and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that everybody else has.”
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the AP his department deemed it “prudent to get a better handle on” what was occurring at Muslim student associations around the Northeast. At least 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism-related charges around the world were associated with Muslim student associations, Browne pointed out. He said the NYPD’s monitoring only took place in 2006 and 2007, but the AP documented cases of undercover monitoring as recently as 2009.
University spokesman Tom Conroy could not immediately be reached for comment.