An American of Bengali descent says that the New York City Police Department paid him to spy on mosques and “bait” Muslims into talking about jihad and terrorism.
Shamiur Rahman told The Associated Press that he agreed to take on the role of informant in January because he believed that several misdemeanor arrests for marijuana would result in serious legal consequences.
“We need you to pretend to be one of them,” Rahman said police told him after a plainclothes officer approached him in jail. “It’s street theater.”
The officers recommended that he use a strategy of “create and capture” to lure Muslims into talking about terrorism and then report the details to police.
Over the course of the year, Rahman said he spied on mosques, Muslim businesses, and Muslim student groups. He took video and photos of worshippers, recorded license plate numbers and eavesdropped on imams.
Rahman was paid up to $1,000 a month until he got tired of spying and ended his relationship with the NYPD in September.
“I was an informant for the NYPD, for a little while, to investigate terrorism,” he admitted to his friends in an Oct. 2 Facebook post. “I hated that I was using people to make money. I made a mistake.”
NYPD Assistant Chief Thomas Galati testified earlier this year that a program to infiltrate and monitor Muslim communities had not generated a single lead or terrorism investigation. The American Civil Liberties Union pointed to Galati’s testimony as proof “that racial or religious profiling and suspicion-less surveillance are ineffective in crime prevention and violate innocent individuals’ constitutional rights.”
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