Robert Knight

Imagine that it was Sept. 12, 2001, and you opened your newspaper, gazed in horror at the many photos of unspeakable carnage at the Twin Towers, and found this story:

“The American Civil Liberties Union today urged the Justice Department to probe the surveillance of Muslim Americans by the New York City Police Department.”

Fast forward to this past week, and you could have read it for real. The ACLU is upset that New York City police, who lost 23 officers when Muslim extremists flew hijacked passenger jets into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, killing a total of 2,753 people and more at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, are keeping an eye on the city’s mosques in order to thwart further terrorist attacks.

If you are a university-trained moral relativist, you might ask huffily, “Why aren’t they monitoring the Episcopalian community? Or the Jewish community?” You could even demand that the Campfire Girls be put under the same surveillance. And, for good measure, how about that shady-looking group of nuns over near the subway stairs, eating ice cream cones?

The simple answer is that no Episcopalians, Jews or nuns have flown airliners into buildings, planted pressure cooker bombs in knapsacks at a Boston Marathon finish line, killed more than a dozen fellow soldiers in Texas while yelling “Allahu Akbar,” systematically executed non-Muslim shoppers at a Kenya mall, burned down churches in Egypt or beheaded Christian girls on their way to school in Indonesia.

All 19 airliner hijackers on September 11, 2001 were affiliated with al-Qaeda, with the majority from Saudi Arabia. Not one carried an Episcopal Book of Common Prayer – not even the 1928 version.

The ACLU’s Oct. 24 letter to two officials in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, signed by 125 state and national pressure groups, claims that “for over a decade, the [NYPD] has engaged in unlawful religious profiling and suspicionless surveillance of Muslims in New York City (and beyond). This surveillance is based on the false and unconstitutional premise, reflected in the NYPD’s published ‘radicalization’ theory, that Muslim religious belief, practices, and community engagement are grounds for law enforcement scrutiny. That is a premise rooted in ignorance and bias.”

Well, there’s also the growing list of terrorist incidents involving Muslim extremists.


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.