Their silence had been thundering, but now the New York Times has issued an editorial on the NYPD surveillance of the Muslim community, a topic I’ve been blogging about with outrage and concern since the Associated Press started releasing its findings last year.
The editors write, in part:
It is a distressing fact of life that mistreatment of Muslims does not draw nearly the protest that it should. But not just Muslims are threatened by this seemingly excessive warrantless surveillance and record-keeping. Today Muslims are the target. In the past it was protesters against the Vietnam War, civil rights activists, socialists. Tomorrow it will be another vulnerable group whose lawful behavior is blended into criminal activity.
Precisely. I am of the generation who was targeted for civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activities. I remember the campus infiltrators who reported on us for nothing more than planning nonviolent peaceful protests on issues of concern to us. I remember the terrible fear parents experienced that we would be beaten or killed by those sworn to uphold the law. And I remember knowing then what I know now – that if those who have been assimilated do not speak up for and protect the rights of those in the minority, their rights and safety will be violated.
Muslim New Yorkers are not my enemy. They never have been. My enemy is those who would trample civil liberties in the name of protecting me.
The NYPD surveillance program may have started with the appropriate goal of protecting citizenry but it has run amok, with the blessings of a Mayor who has lost his moral way.
It’s time for New York to get back on track.