Thursday, October 6, 2011

NYPD eyes Muslim leaders close to Mayor Bloomberg for 'threat potential'

Thursday, October 6th 2011, 4:00 AM

Sheikh Reda Shata, a prominent anti-terrorism Muslim leader, is under NYPD surveillance.
Mel Evans/AP
Sheikh Reda Shata, a prominent anti-terrorism Muslim leader, is under NYPD surveillance.
Mohammad Shamsi Ali is also under surveillance.
Mayita Mendez for News
Mohammad Shamsi Ali is also under surveillance.

An undercover NYPD officer secretly monitored a prominent Brooklyn Muslim leader known for speaking out against terrorism after cops labeled him a threat, a new report shows.

Sheikh Reda Shata, who often dined with Mayor Bloomberg and police officers during his time at the Islamic Center of Bay Ridge, was placed under surveillance by cops because of his "threat potential," police documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

In 2006, The New York Times profiled Shata, who emigrated from Egypt to the U.S. in 2002, and described his efforts to reconcile Muslim traditions with American life. The story won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing the following year.

The AP said Mohammad Shamsi Ali, an imam who regularly appears at Bloomberg's side when the mayor speaks about Muslim issues, was also under surveillance. Two mosques where he holds leadership roles were infiltrated by the NYPD, the report shows.

The news came as a group of state senators called on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the NYPD's reported surveillance of Muslim communities.

"I am greatly troubled that the NYPD seeks to criminalize an entire faith tradition," said state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn).

jkemp@nydailynews.com

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