Members of the city's Muslim community have mostly favorable reactions to the NYPD's decision to shut down its controversial surveillance program that targeted Muslims as it hunted potential terrorists, though not everyone in the community agrees. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.
Saleh Ali came to the U.S. from Yemen 22 years ago. He owns a deli in Bay Ridge. Ali says the NYPD's Muslim spying program made him and other law-abiding Muslims feel like terrorists.
"We have families here. We work harder than anybody else. I haven't had a day off in seven years. Basically we are hard working people," Ali said.
The NYPD started the program in 2003 in response to 9/11. Plainclothes officers were sent into Muslim neighborhoods to get information on possible terror plots. Ali says the officers came to his deli several times.
"I had a few incidents where they came in, where they wanted to look at the surveillance," he recalled.
Nimo Kamer is an Egyptian-American. He has been here 30 years. Kamer says the NYPD should never have been allowed to spy in restaurants, mosques and other areas where Muslims gather.
"I feel offended, of course," Kamer said. "Yeah. It made me feel like I'm from a different world, like an enemy, you know."
But Muhammad Mubraz disagrees. He came here 10 years ago from Yemen. He says the surveillance program never bothered him because he has nothing to hide.
"It's for security they could do it . It's for security of the country. Why not?" Mubraz said.
Twenty-four-year-old Muslim Kay Al Shamiri says not only was the spying wrong, it was short-sighted.
"Because anyone could be again, as the Homeland Security stated, anybody could be a threat a national security threat or anything like that," Al Shamiri noted.
In the neighborhood, there are mixed feelings on whether Muslims can trust the NYPD in the future. Some say they will always feel targeted while others say time will tell.