(New York, NY. 02/28/2020) – In a recent interview on PBS NewsHour, Democratic presidential candidate, Michael Bloomberg, attempted to defend his heinous and discriminatory policy of the secret surveillance program of Muslims during his tenure as New York City Mayor as “part of a larger effort to keep America safe.” Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council finds Bloomberg’s response absolutely abhorrent and offensive.
These efforts included spying on Muslim groups, mosques, Imams, and students taking note of their conversations and everyday actions. By claiming that such efforts were justified due to 9/11 attacks, Bloomberg’s policies have harmed community relations, created distrust between New Yorkers and Muslims, and led to false accusations of terrorism for innocent individuals.
Security surveillance programs such as Bloomberg’s and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) have caused great damage to Muslim and African-American communities. They have created dangerous atmospheres of hate and discrimination, false charges of criminal activity, and have hindered basic civil rights such as freedom of speech to criticize American foreign policy.
Nothing justifies targeting a specific group of people based on their faith, race, or nationality. His response remains absurd, dangerous, and racist. One may even ask why white Americans are not under constant surveillance in the age of white supremacy terrorism. Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, Special Representative for Restorative Justice, Civil and Human Rights and former President of Majlis Ash-Shura, recounts the moment “when community and religious leaders, other public officials, and those grassroots people impacted by the arrests raised their voices in opposition to the NYPD policies and procedures, Mike Bloomberg was defiantly resistant to counsel and criticism.”
As an umbrella organization that represents over 90 mosques and Muslim-led organizations, Islamic Leadrship Council of New York finds Michael Bloomberg’s response unacceptable and demands an immediate apology for the harm that he inflicted upon our communities. Furthermore, political candidates who justify discriminatory policies towards Muslims and other marginalized communities cannot be tolerated as viable candidates. We encourage our community members to remain informed, and condemn Bloomberg’s response to his surveillance program.