Source: Huffington Post
By Rowaida Abdelaziz
“How would he distinguish himself from Trump if he has some of these similar leanings?” one Muslim New Yorker wanted to know.
As a 19-year-old college student in 2012, Asad Dandia received a Facebook friend request from a fellow young Muslim man who wanted to get more involved with the Muslim community in New York City.
It didn’t raise alarm bells for Dandia at the time ― the Brooklyn resident was active in the religious-based charity organization Muslims Giving Back, which collected and distributed food for people in need. Dandia told the man on Facebook, 19-year-old Queens resident Shamiur Rahman, that he was welcome to join the organization to find friends, get closer to his faith and widen his network.
But Dandia didn’t realize that Rahman wasn’t there to seek friends at all.
Rahman was being paid by the New York City Police Department to spy, bait and record every move made by Dandia and his Muslim community as a part of the now-defunct surveillance program that mapped and spied on everyday Muslim Americans.
The NYPD program, exposed by the Associated Press’ Pulitzer Prize-winning series in 2011, confirmed many Muslims’ worst fears and left permanent damage between the Muslim community and law enforcement, even after it ended in 2014.
Then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg approved and oversaw the program, saying it is what he “expected” the NYPD to do. He staunchly defended the surveillance when it was exposed and widely condemned.