Author Asra Q. Nomani: The NYPD Should Spy on Muslims

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As the fallout over NYPD's Muslim spying scheme continues -- even prompting Chicago's top cop to pledge against blanket monitoring of Islamic communities -- some have taken a drastically different approach to the issue.

While Mayor Mike Bloomberg has defended the NYPD's controversial practices, Asra Q. Nomani, author of Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam and co-director of the Pearl Project, has outright promoted the department's techniques in a new Daily Beast op-ed.

Nomani basically argues that Muslims don't do enough to police themselves -- and that she is "relieved that our country's largest police agency was monitoring our Muslim community as closely as the reports indicate."

Nomani, a Muslim who is also well known for women's rights activism at her Virginia mosque, writes:

"Last year, I argued: profile me. This year, I say, too: monitor me. Indeed, just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don't police ourselves enough.

Public spaces, especially those protected by religious sensibilities, are a natural meeting spot for criminals. If the NYPD was tracking shopping malls or pizza shops where criminal activity is being planned, we wouldn't complain. Because the places are religious institutions, we're protesting. Alas, criminals use our religious protections as a weapon against us."

She goes on, explaining:

"The last 15 years of battling extremism in our Muslim community has revealed one truth: mosques and Muslim organizations are institutional spaces used by Muslims intent on criminal activity, not much unlike the pews of a Catholic church or a Godfather's Pizza might be the secret meeting spot for members of the Italian mafia."

Now, we're not going to deny that there have been mosques and Muslim organizations linked to criminal activity -- just as we're not going to deny that there have been Colombian restaurants linked to drug trafficking or white social clubs associated with racist groups like the KKK.

But the issue at hand is whether it's right -- and legal -- to collect data and IDs on individuals based upon their demographic.

Aside from being based on the shakiest of premises, making the case that spying on Muslims is OK -- and even constitutes "good police work" -- because other groups should be spied on doesn't address this key question.

What needs to be ironed out -- by every stakeholder in this debate -- is whether these techniques violate civil rights.

Conflating constitutional discussion with appeals to common practice just doesn't achieve this.

Runnin' Scared has reached out to Nomani to ask about her op-ed. We'll update if we hear back.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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Tony Ryals
Tony Ryals

  Asra Nomani's Beltway colleague Mansoor Ijaz,(who advise caused Daniel Pearl his life), who also has his fraudulant hedge fund Crescent Hydropolis in Michael Bloomberg's NY,has been stirring the flames in his father's country of Pakistan again in hopes that the US will be drawn in and he and his pal ex CIA Chief James Woolsey can make more money on war and hate fraud. Yes Asra has much in common with Mansoor Ijaz and they should both be deported to Pakistan or India or whereever they came from if we want real 'homeland security'.Asra is also still silent regarding Richard Reid 'the shoe bomber', who was the reason Daniel Pearl was in Pakistan at the time of his murder in the first place.Reid's close ties to Menachem Atzmon and the Shin Beit Israelis of ICTS International who 'guarded' Logan Airport Boston on 9/11/01 and allowed Reid to board his plane from De Gualle Airport France with his 'shoe bomb' one month after 9/11.In fact Richard Reid 'the shoe bomber', like Asra Nomani, are about the only Muslims I know of who had VIP treatment to enter and travel freely in Israel.I wonder why they were both so well received ?

Asra Nomani
Asra Nomani

Again, Tony Ryals, I can't understand what you are trying to communicate, beyond typical conspiracy theories that are not based on fact or reality. But my best to you, Asra

Diller
Diller

What percentage of Muslim extremists are Muslim?

What percentage of Muslim extremists attend a mosque?

Asra Nomani
Asra Nomani

Hi Diller, My apologies for the delay responding. What percentage of Muslim extremists are Muslim? Well, by definition, all of them, if the extremists self-identify as Muslim. I wonder if you had a mistake in your first question. Maybe you wondered what percentage of extremists are Muslim? To your question, what percentage of Muslim extremists attend a mosque? On a case study basis, from KSM to Osama bin Laden to Maj. Nidal Hassan, Richard Reid, Omar Sheikh and so many more: most Muslims extremists attend a mosque. That is why I believe it is critical that inside the Muslim community we take ownership of what is taught at the pulpit and get rid of the extremist message. And until that is accomplished that is why I understand why law enforcement must track suspicious activity at mosques. I am heartened as a citizen that they do. 

Pro Bono Publico
Pro Bono Publico

 The lady seems to be aspiring to become the Gertrude Stein of Muslim Americans

Asra Nomani
Asra Nomani

Pro Bono Publico, Great analysis, but I wish I was that ambitious. Honestly, my friend Danny Pearl's murder just made me realize that we had just a few problems in our Muslim community, and I felt as if I had just been a spectator to the radicalization in our community without ever challenging it or even simply observing it, even as a writer. I didn't realize the potential deadly consequences of this ideological problem in our communities. 

What I do may be my mea culpa. You can argue, rightly, like a lot of Muslims do that we are not personally responsible for the criminals, but I do feel we are culpable when we don't stand up to the ideology of intolerance and sexism that very much exists in our community. 

It's the same ethical debate folks would have regarding being spectators to any criminality from the violence of the Nazis to the KKK.

Thank you for writing, Asra

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