BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It appears police from New York City have been monitoring Muslims at the University at Buffalo.
The undercover surveillance of Muslim students at the University at Buffalo is part of broader activity of the NYPD.
New York Police officers have secretly monitored the daily activities of Muslim students and professors at colleges and universities across the Northeastern United States, according to an Associated Press report. The report states that some of the people being monitored are at the University at Buffalo.
Dr. Khalid Qazi, President of Muslim Public Affairs Council of WNY called the NYPD's activities "Disappointing. This is disturbing."
According to the AP, the NYPD talked with local authorities in Western New York about professors at UB. One UB student is actually mentioned by name in a 2006 internal report, compiled by the NYPD's Intelligence Division and delivered to Commissioner Ray Kelly. More than a full page of that report details the student's posts on the UB Muslim Student Association's webpage.
Undercover detectives even followed students (not from UB) on a white-water rafting trip, noting their names and how many times a day they prayed.
All of this, despite the fact that none of the people being surveilled have been accused of any wrongdoing.
"This is obviously of great concern to not only the Muslim students, but all of us as citizens, as to the reach of the NYPD," added Dr. Qazi. "...How they have used certain portions of the U.S. Patriot Act, and monitored people's private lives."
The University at Buffalo issued a statement Sunday speaking strongly against the NYPD's actions.
The statement read:
" This was the first time that the university learned of this matter. University at Buffalo officials were not contacted by NYPD, and the university did not provide any information to the NYPD.
UB does not conduct this kind of surveillance, and, if asked, UB would not voluntarily cooperate with such a request.
As a public university, UB strongly supports the values of freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, and a reasonable expectation of privacy."
Students we spoke to on our visit to the North Campus were equally dismayed.
Ainslie Evans said, "I think it is very concerning. I don't think they had any right to do that without giving them knowledge."
"It definitely is infringing on their rights and everything. They are just normal people and shouldn't be racially profiled while they are here at school, "added Samantha Torretta.
The NYPD really hasn't given any formal explanation of the activity. NYPD Commissioner and spokesperson was quoted in the AP article as saying The NYPD "deemed it prudent to get a better handle as to what was occurring at Muslim Student Associations (MSAs)," based on the fact that 12 people who have been arrested and convicted on terrorist charges previously had once been members of MSAs.
Aside from the student who is mentioned by name in the 2006 internal NYPD report, we do not know how many UB students or professors have been monitored, nor do we know who they are.
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