Testifying Thursday at Herald Square bombing-plot trial, a young Muslim police detective who came to America from Bangladesh when he was 7, admitted he was hired by the Police Academy 13 months after 9/11 to infiltrate into the Muslim community, according to The New York Times.Reply
The detective admitted that he was assigned to be a "walking camera" among Muslims in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where he stayed for two years and was involved in "numerous" investigations, and at times shadowed by a field team to ensure his safety.
He first appeared at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, a mosque on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, next door to the Islamic bookstore where Shahawar Matin Siraj, 23, a Pakistani immigrant, now facing trial for allegedly plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station in 2004, worked.
He also testified that he once had Mr. Siraj over to his apartment, but never wore a secret recording device.
He said he was not given any special training to work undercover. He only learned about self-defense, weapons, surveillance and undercover safety.
"I was told to act like a civilian — hang out in the neighborhood, gather information," he testified, adding that he was told "never to push for information," but instead to "take a back seat" and "observe, be the ears and eyes."
The detective’s testimony, which provided a closest look at how the division is using undercover investigators to spy on mosques, bookstores and other places where Muslims gather, proved what many Muslims had been complaining about since Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
Numerous Muslim figures in the U.S. had complained that the government launched hidden campaigns aimed at infiltrating their community under the guise of “following links to terror organisations.”
The testimony at a federal court moreover came as the latest confirmation of the department’s efforts “to create a fictitious identity so a Muslim investigator could live for years in an insular neighborhood where people have become highly suspicious of the authorities,” The New York Times report said.
The detective said he had never testified in court before.
But a defense attorney seemed skeptical, asking him: "You had never before heard of suicide bombings taking place in Israel?"
"I grew up with a very peaceful religion," the detective answered.
"All of these comments - radical beliefs - came to me when I took this assignment." He added: "Where in Islam does it say you can blow up a train station?"
The man was called to testify as a witness at the trial of Siraj, a 23-year old Pakistani immigrant, whose lawyers say he was entrapped by a paid police informer, an Egyptian-born nuclear engineer whom they accuse of being the “driving force behind the plot,” asserting that Siraj was “an inept dupe who was not predisposed to commit an act of terrorism until the informer inflamed him”.
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