Muslim-American groups are pushing to block the potential nomination of Raymond Kelly for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Kelly, who serves as the New York City police commissioner, is being considered as a replacement for current Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is set to resign in September. She will go on to serve as the president of the University of California school system.
The Muslim groups contend that Kelly oversaw a spying initiative that targeted Muslim people specifically for their religion, Religion News Service reports.
They also allege that he participated in an anti-Islamic film, as well as approved a report on terrorism that associated everyday activities, such as quitting smoking, with signs of future terrorist activity. Other suspicious signs included growing out a beard, fasting and praying.
Glenn Katon, legislative director for Muslim Advocates, told RNS that he believes that Kelly has “a proven record of violating American citizens’ rights,” and has written a letter on behalf of his organization.
President Barack Obama has confirmed that Kelly would “obviously” be “very well qualified for the job.”
Under one NYPD program, police officers monitored 250 mosques, 12 Islamic schools, Muslim students, and their hangouts, reportedly yielding no further intelligence information.
Kelly responded to outcry against the program by saying that angered citizens don’t understand facts or appropriate police behavior.
“Anyone who implies that it is unlawful for the police department to search online, visit public places or map neighborhoods has either not read, misunderstood or intentionally obfuscated the meaning of the [police guidelines],” he said.
His “stop and frisk” program, which opponents say is outright racial profiling, especially of blacks and Hispanics, has also come under fire.
The New York Civil Liberties Union and the National Latino Officers Association, among other groups, have protested the practices.