Monday, February 27, 2012

Muslims for Peace, Inc.

PO Box 6262

Monroe Township, NJ 08831

24 February 2012/3 al-Rabīʿ al-Thānī 1433

Barack Hussein Obama

President of the United States of America

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

I am writing to voice concern over the extent to which the civil rights of Muslims in America have been violated in the name of homeland security. A string of classified documents published by the Associated Press has brought the following violations to light:

1. Based on documents released on 22 September 2011, the Associated Press reported that the NYPD put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, solely based on their religion, level of practice, ethnicity, and country of origin.

2. On 26 October 2011 the Associated Press reported that Muslims who change their names to sound more traditionally American, or who adopt Arabic names as a sign of their faith are often investigated and cataloged in secret NYPD intelligence files.

3. The May 2006 report obtained by the Associated Press shows that the NYPD recommended increasing surveillance of thousands of Shiite Muslims and their mosques, based solely on their religion.

4. The report obtained by the Associated Press in February 2012 shows that Americans who were living and working in Newark NJ, Suffolk County NY, Nassau County NY, were subjected to surveillance as part of the NYPD’s effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray. The mayor of Newark, Corey Booker, claims that he was not informed.

5. The Associated Press reported that the NYPD scrutinized Muslim Student Associations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, without any specific evidence of criminal activity. Richard C. Levin, Debora Spar, and John Sexton–the presidents of Yale, Columbia, and New York University respectively–have all publicly decried these activities, and Rutgers University has publicized an official statement condemning them as well.

6. On February 27th it was recently reveled that the White House grants funded some of the NYPD’s activities.

This is cause for serious alarm, and we are not alone in our concern. Numerous Muslim communities, faith-based organizations and civil rights advocates are calling for an independent investigation into these violations. Senator Bob Menendez has asked federal authorities to investigate the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims in NJ.

Muslims contribute to America by voting for public officials, working in different sectors of the economy, participating in intellectual life, advancing science and building strong communities. They are an integral part of this nation, and they deserve to be treated as equal citizens. Muslims for Peace Inc., a non-profit interfaith organization, was founded in 2001 on the principles of peace, justice, faith and community. Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), exemplified these principles. In a letter written to one of his governors, which even the United Nations has cited, Imam Ali is reported to have said that every person is either your brother in faith, or a human like you. I hope that all members of our society, including your administration, can learn and benefit from the example of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the high moral standard established by Imam Ali (AS).


Naqi Haider

Executive Director

Muslims For Peace, Inc.