NYPD column misleads readers on facts
The author of the March 20 column in The Daily Targum, entitled “Surveillance benefits U,” has — typical to his writing style — written a blatantly offensive article. It seems like every time I read his column, I am greeted with another instance of moronic xenophobia which he attempts to gloss over with phrases such as “poses a threat to the Muslim and non-Muslim community alike.” First of all, let me assure the author that the “baseless accusations” shot at the New York Police Department over the last 11 years are based in its McCarthyist stigma against select minority groups. These happen to include Muslims, Arabs and Pakistanis — to name a few. One may argue that it has been successful, like in impeding the 14 terrorist attacks the author named, but one would be making a foolish argument, as it does not take into account how exactly these policies ferment terrorist sentiment. Indeed, I believe men and women, who are alienated by exactly the racist policies defended by the author, perpetrated many of the attacks that the NYPD has foiled.
However, the most staggering part of the author’s piece was his statement that the “NYPD’s largest mistake was their failure to monitor radical non-Muslims at the University as well,” after which he names several campus organizations, which are apparently not favorable to his conservative worldview. It appears that the author would rather student activists with whom he disagrees suffer through unconstitutional harassment and humiliation at the hands of the NYPD. Pardon me if I find that to be slightly excessive.
It is tiring to constantly reiterate these points, as he has personally heard them numerous times. The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund has never had links to terrorist organizations. BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice intended to fund a humanitarian flotilla, and not any terrorist group. The University Center for Middle Eastern Studies has been accused of being funded by clandestine Saudi princes in the past, which was a claim I also considered to be fear-driven and ludicrous.
The entire incident is then used as an opportunity for the author to further martyr himself and his political allies. Rather than the media “generally [ignoring]” these events, I recall University students pressing their racist sentiments until entire organizations were needlessly covered by media outlets for weeks. The Jerusalem Post had covered BAKA’s “United States to Gaza” fundraiser by the time it took place. The organizers for PCRF had to deal with being hounded about their supposed links to terrorist organizations for months after self-denying racists pursued the issue. The author himself has used his column as a soapbox numerous times to complain of his alleged mistreatment by University officials, and appears to be continuing to do so despite a statement by Gregory Blimling that these matters have been dealt with appropriately.
It appears that the author is not satisfied with how an open and tolerant University community has not seen fit to bend to his every racist whim and harass the people with whom he has policy disagreements. Every University organization he names in the article has already been through unfair scrutiny as a result of the views of him and his political allies on campus. I am quite frankly exhausted with this silliness, which is all right since I am graduating soon and no longer have to read his nonsense.
Bilal Ahmed is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in Middle Eastern studies with minors in political science and African, Middle Eastern and South Asian languages and literatures.