We are encouraged by signs that shortsighted attempts by some Muslim groups to blunt the obviously successful proactive NYPD anti-terrorism programs – programs that involve heightened scrutiny of some Muslim-Americans – are not getting any traction. Various organizations have argued that the NYPD’s efforts violated the rights of Muslim-Americans and were unconstitutional and illegal. They appealed to government officials to investigate. But there have been no takers. And most candidates for local and state office do not seem to be all that interested.
A coalition of Muslim civic organizations recently wrote to New York State Attorney General Schneiderman seeking an inquiry by his office. They received a bottom-line negative, albeit intriguing, response: “While we share some of the serious concerns raised in the letter, there are significant legal and investigative obstacles that impede our ability to launch a review of this matter at this time.”
The groups then called upon Gov. Cuomo to intervene but were turned down cold. The governor told reporters, “I don’t believe there’s any reason to second-guess the attorney general…. I don’t believe there’s any reason to second-guess the NYPD’s methods either.”
Meanwhile, New York Senator Chuck Schumer opined that “There is nothing wrong with the NYPD collecting and assessing publicly available information from New York, New Jersey, the other 48 states or around the world in the effort to prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. In fact it is widely understood that the NYPD’s actions have kept us safer. Looking at public information and following leads is perfectly acceptable as long as any one group, in its entirety, is not targeted based only on its religious or ethnic affiliation.”
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a potential 2013 mayoral candidate, said she supports police monitoring of Muslim groups and suggested she would continue the current NYPD program pursued by the Bloomberg administration. Other potential candidates have either remained silent on the issue or questioned the monitoring program while praising the NYPD’s success in protecting the city.
Frankly, we initially thought the complaints from the Muslim organizations would strike a responsive chord with many of our liberal elected officials who, we feared, would show more concern over hyped allegations of civil liberties infringements than they would the need to combat terrorism in a realistic manner.
Happily, we were wrong, and at least for now Commissioner Kelly will be able to continue his heretofore successful efforts to protect all New Yorkers without unnecessary distractions.