CAIR Battles Against NYPD and FBI Surveillance of Muslims Post-9/11

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NEW YORK, NY– The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) held a pivotal conference and fundraising event at Prospect Hall Brooklyn, New York, focusing on their relentless fight against the unconstitutional surveillance and profiling of Muslims by the NYPD and FBI in the aftermath of 9/11. This event brought together influential community leaders, including Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Dr Ammaar Saeed, CAIR National Executive Director CAIR-NY Board Member and Mohammad Bahe from Muslim Giving Back to shed light on these critical issues and rally support for Justice and Muslim civil rights.

Since the September 11 attacks, the NYPD and FBI have conducted extensive surveillance programs targeting Muslim individuals, mosques, and community centres. These actions, often justified as counter-terrorism measures, have raised significant concerns about religious profiling and civil rights violations. CAIR has been at the forefront of opposing these measures, filing numerous lawsuits to protect innocent Muslims from unjust scrutiny.

The event spotlighted CAIR’s legal battles, including lawsuits filed against the NYPD for their religious profiling and illegal surveillance operations. “The Department of Justice must investigate the potential illegality of the coercive recruitment of Muslims to spy on their faith community,” stated CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “The program as a whole unconstitutionally focuses on all New York Muslims through religion-related, coercive questioning and recruiting.”

CAIR-NY Director of Operations Sadyia Khalique also addressed the audience, highlighting the importance of community support in their efforts. “The resilience of our community is our strength. Together, we can fight against these injustices and ensure that our rights are protected.”

Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a respected figure and speaker at the event, condemned the harmful effects of such surveillance. “Instead of unifying all Americans against evildoers, these practices cast suspicion on faith rather than addressing the terrorist act,” he said.

He also stated “We must remember that the actions of a few do not define an entire community. Islam promotes peace, justice, and the welfare of all humanity.”_ (Imam Siraj Wahhaj)

Dr. Ammaar Saeed highlighted the broader societal impact stating, “When you have a government saying that this particular racial, religious group is suspect, it interferes with their religious practice. There’s a lot of community fear and mistrust.” he said. “This is not only an infringement on religious freedom but also a direct violation of civil rights. We need to ensure that our government protects all its citizens equally.”

CAIR-NY Board Member Zead Ramadan addressed the audience, highlighting the organization’s commitment to protecting civil liberties. “Our mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil rights, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding,” he said.

The conference featured testimonials from individuals directly affected by these surveillance programs. Mohammad Bahe, founder of “Muslims Giving Back,” shared his personal experience of being surveilled. Despite the challenges, Bahe remains dedicated to his community work. “I’m not going to let these people stop me from doing good. This is what Islam is about,” he said.

As CAIR continues to advocate for the Muslim community, its work underscores the importance of protecting civil rights and ensuring that justice prevails over prejudice and discrimination.

The conference concluded with a fundraising segment to support CAIR’s ongoing legal and advocacy work. Mohammad Bahe was honoured with a community service award for his dedication and resilience.

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