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In what many are saying is an overzealous attack on the civil liberties of students in New York City, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly has openly defended spying on Muslim students, calling it a necessary step in the fight against terrorism. Naturally, Muslim students and other such groups have vehemently decried the practice, and some are even calling for Kelly’s resignation.

NYPD’s Muslim surveillance program came under more fire over the weekend after Kelly spoke on the necessity of the practice. Speaking with Fordham Law School alumni, the commissioner stood firm on his stance. “For some, the very act of intelligence gathering seems illegitimate when applied to the crime of terrorism,” said Kelly. “In fact, the Police Department uses many of the same methods to find and stop terrorists that we use to arrest drug dealers, human traffickers and gang leaders.

Kelly made the statements as 100 protestors awaited him outside with signs and other demonstrations. Kelly carefully acknowledged that students are mostly law-abiding but would stop far short of saying that the spying would end. “We know that while the vast majority of Muslim student associations and their members are law-abiding, we have seen too many cases in which such groups were exploited,” said Kelly

Kelly’s program has been said to cross state lines into neighboring New Jersey without known collaboration between his department and police officials in the Garden State. Protestors were vocal outside of the speech with police looking on, but no arrests were made.

Would Kelly’s surveillance program extend into other communities suspected of illegal activity such as Black and Hispanic neighborhoods? Just take a look at NYPD’s “Stop-And-Frisk” program has come under fire for targeting only Black and Latinos, which some see as a gross misuse of power from the police commissioner.



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Photo: NY Daily News