Undercover Work Deepens Police-Muslim Tensions
By Andrea Elliott

It is no secret to the Muslim immigrants of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, that spies live among them.
Almost anyone can rattle off what they regard as the telltale signs of police informers: They like to talk politics. They have plenty of free time. They live in the neighborhood, but have no local relatives.
“They think we don’t know, but we know who they are,” said Linda Sarsour, 26, a community activist.
It is another thing for them to be officially revealed. Over the last several weeks, during the trial of a Pakistani immigrant who was convicted on Wednesday of plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station, Muslims in Bay Ridge learned that two agents of the police had been planted in the neighborhood and were instrumental to the case.
They absorbed the testimony of an Egyptian-born police informer who had recorded the license plate numbers of worshipers at a mosque. They heard that an undercover detective, originally from Bangladesh, had been sent to Bay Ridge as a “walking camera.”

The trial’s revelations, and its outcome for the defendant, Shahawar Matin Siraj, have brought a bitter reckoning among Muslims in the city. Many see the police tactics unveiled in the case as proof that the authorities - both in New York and around the nation - have been aggressive, even underhanded in their approach to Muslims…
(Courtesy New York Times, 5/27/06




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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