Leaked NYPD Document Lists Watched Mosques, Islamic Schools

The list of monitored areas is part of a questionable program used to allegedly spy on Muslims.

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A website dedicated to following the New York City Police Department published a document Monday detailing Islamic schools, NGOs, mosques, student associations, and persons of interest that were monitored by the NYPD in 2006 as part of its secret and legally questionable program to spy on Muslims.

The program was first exposed in an Pulitzer Prize-winning series by the Associated Press last year.

Leonard Levitt, a former Newsday police reporter who runs NYPD Confidential, writes Monday that the NYPD's own Intelligence Division document from 2006 refute claims that the police force is innocent.

According to the new document, NYPD's undercover officers or informants infiltrated places as varied as the Westchester Muslim Center mosque, an Islamic student association at Brooklyn College, and the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR).

"It doesn't suprise me at all," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. "It seems every organization, leader, mosque, and cab driver was on their list... But what we’re concerned about is the individual Muslims who were targeted for this spy campaign without a warrant or any evidence of wrongdoing on anyone’s part.”

[See: NJ Official: NYPD Muslim Surveillance Legal]

In all, NYPD compiled information on 250 mosques, 12 Islamic schools, 31 Muslim student associations, 263 "ethnic hotspots," such as restaurants and businesses, and 138 "persons of interest," according to NYPD Confidential.

While the AP also published a number of NYPD documents as part of its ongoing series, today's 2006 Intelligence Division documents appear to be newly published.

Levitt writes that he felt compelled to publish it because of attempts by Mitchell Silber, who recently left the NYPD intelligence department, to discredit the AP's work. Silber has written in multiple publications that the AP's work is "rife with inaccuracies."

Levitt writes that the monitoring outlined in the 2006 document is so "sweeping" that it "resembled files of the former Communist East German secret police."

Requests for comment from the NYPD, Westchester Muslim Center and Brooklyn College Islamic Society were not immediately returned.

Update, 6/18, 6:13 p.m.: 

The Brooklyn College Islamic Society said in an email it was "strongly against the spying of the NYPD on Muslims student associations," saying their society "work[s] to benefit the community" and "do[es] not support terrorism in any form."

[See: NJ Muslims Angry Over NYPD Surveillance Findings]

Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


06/05/12: A previous version of this story stated Levitt leaked the document. Levitt says the document was given to him, and then published on his website. This version has been updated to reflect the clarification.