The Yale Muslim Students Association was shocked to learn over the weekend that the New York Police Department spied on their organization in 2006 and 2007.
The Associated Press reported last year that the NYPD cyber intelligence unit was checking the websites, blogs and forums of Muslim student groups at colleges in New York City. Now the AP says the surveillance was conducted at many more colleges and universities than previously believed, including Yale University.
"I just found it very troubling," said Mostafa Al-Alusi, President of the Yale Muslim Students Assocation. "I think that the NYPD overstepped their bounds. I think that this is a blatant example of religious and racial profiling and I don't think that's something that people should accept and that's why we're so outraged over this."
In a written statement Yale University president Richard Levin said Yale had no knowledge of the surveillance, and called the NYPD's actions, "antithetical to the values of Yale, the academic community, and the United States" At a press conference Tuesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the NYPD and responded to Levin's comments:
"I don’t know why keeping the county safe is antithetical to the values of Yale," said Bloomberg. "If going on web sites and looking for information is not what Yale stands for I don’t know. It’s the freedom of information."
The Yale Muslim Students Association has joined the Association for Muslim American Lawyers and 42 other organizations calling on the New York attorney general's office to investigate NYPD's surveillance activities.