In a new twist in an ongoing controversy, Muslim groups on Monday gathered in Manhattan to thank the New York Police Department for surveilling Muslims in two New Jersey cities and 16 college campuses, NorthJersey.com reported. 
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of the American Islamic Foundation, who attended a rally of about three dozen people, told the paper he saw nothing wrong with NPYD’s actions so long as it collected information in public.
“Maybe they can stop someone before they strap a bomb to their chest,” he said, according to the paper.
The gathering came in the wake of comments last week by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who told Congress that he has begun an investigation into alleged spying of Muslims by the New York Police Department.
The Associated Press reported that Holder’s department will look into whether the police violated the some Muslims’ civil rights. The attorney general did not give a time frame for completing the probe.
He testified, according to AP, that police should only monitor citizens’ activities “when there is a basis to believe that something inappropriate is occurring or potentially could occur.”
Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that the NYPD has built databases pinpointing where Muslims live, where they buy groceries, what Internet cafes they use and where they watch sports.
Dozens of mosques and student groups have been infiltrated, and police have built detailed profiles of Moroccans, Egyptians, Albanians and other local ethnic groups, AP reported.
Holder told Congress last week that police seeking to monitor activities by citizens “should only do so when there is a basis to believe that something inappropriate is occurring or potentially could occur.”