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If you were told that the NYPD wasn’t investigating a known Muslim Brotherhood front, you’d probably be outraged. Instead, the NYPD has done just that with the Muslim Students Association, and it is again facing fierce criticism for doing its job.
It has been revealed that the NYPD used informants to infiltrate specific Muslim Students Association branches in New York whose members had suspected ties to terrorism and extremism. Public events organized by MSA chapters were secretly attended and websites and chat rooms were monitored. Seven MSA chapters were labeled as “MSAs of concern,” specifically six branches of the City University of New York and St. John’s University in Queens. The six CUNY MSAs that were listed were at Brooklyn College, Baruch College, City College, Hunter College, La Guardia Community College and Queens College.
The Muslim Students Association was directly founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1963 at the University of Illinois. The three main founders were Hisham al-Talib, Ahmad Totonji and Jamal Barzinji. All three have had senior roles in organizations investigated for possible involvement in terrorism. In 2003, Special Agent David Kane’s sworn testimony said Barzinji is “not only closely associated with PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad]…but also with Hamas.”
Today, the MSA has over 150 chapters directly affiliated with it in the U.S. and Canada. The Investigative Project on Terrorism says, “Through conferences and events, publications, websites and other activities, MSA has disseminated and promoted militant Islamic ideologies on college and university campuses throughout North America.” A 2007 NYPD document identified the MSA as an “incubator” of radicalism.
There’s an extensive list of MSA leaders engaging in terrorism and chapters promoting extremism. Abdurahman Alamoudi, a Brotherhood member convicted for his ties to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, used to be the national president of MSA. Anwar al-Awlaki was the president of the Colorado State University chapter. Omar Hammami, now with the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia named al-Shabaab, was the president of the University of South Alabama’s chapter. A University of Idaho chapter leader, Sami Omar al-Hussayen, was arrested in 2003 on suspicion of fundraising for terrorists. The president of MSA’s Washington D.C. council was convicted for trying to join the Taliban. And the list goes on and on.
The NYPD investigation into the seven MSA chapters is being portrayed an abuse of student’s rights rooted in anti-Muslim discrimination. The Brooklyn College Faculty Council passed a resolution condemning the NYPD’s actions and 43 law professors at CUNY put out a joint statement saying that the rights of students may have been violated. One English professor at Brooklyn College, Moustafa Bayoumi, accused the government of systematically persecuting innocent Muslims for their faith.
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