U.S. media is reporting that "thirty-three civil rights groups" have written a letter to the New York Attorney General complaining about police documents recommending increasing surveillance of Shiite mosques. According to an AP report:
NEW YORK — Thirty-three civil rights groups from around the country complained to the New York attorney general Friday about police documents that showed the New York Police Department recommending increased surveillance of Shiite mosques based on their religion. The letter urged Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate NYPD's surveillance operations, revealed by an Associated Press investigation, which monitored entire neighborhoods and built databases about everyday life in Muslim communities. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have insisted that police only follow legitimate leads and do not conduct preventative surveillance in ethnic communities. A May 2006 report addressed to Kelly, however, recommended increased spying at mosques and an assessment of the region's Palestinian community to look for potential terrorists. Even before the AP published the document, Kelly was under fire from Muslim groups who were angry that a controversial movie about Muslims, "The Third Jihad," was shown at NYPD training sessions. Kelly appears briefly in the movie. About 150 protesters gathered near police headquarters Friday to challenge the NYPD's tactics. "Don't be afraid, stand for justice!" they chanted before holding evening prayers in nearby Foley Square. "Just the fact of knowing there is someone out there trying to listen to my conversations that can turn me into some kind of criminal, which I'm not, and exploiting my religion, it hurts," said Sondos Alsilwi, an 18-year-old history major at City College. Schneiderman's office did not immediately have a comment on the letter.