Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called on current Mayor Bill de Blasio to place NYPD personnel in the city’s mosques yesterday, after Islamic extremists slaughtered the staff of the Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Speaking on Fox News, Mr. Giuliani criticized his successor for ending a two decade-old policy of planting police informants in Muslim houses of worship, and urged him to again assign cops to keep tabs on the religious institutions. The former mayor argued such action was justified because the conspirators behind the 1993 World Trade Center attack met in mosques, and subsequent investigations led to arrest and the conviction of militant Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, who hoped to launch attacks in the transit system.
“The mayor of New York, one of the first things he did was he pulled all of the police out of the mosques. Well, you know who put the police in the mosques? I did. You know who increased the number of police in the mosques? Kelly and Bloomberg,” Mr. Giuliani told host Greta Van Susteren. “And why did I do it? Because the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 was organized in a mosque. The blind sheikh, who went to jail for a hundred years, was planning to blow up our subways in a mosque.”
Mr. Giuliani argued that the threat of terrorism today is greater than ever, as exemplified by the massacre in France.
“I think it is becoming more difficult for us,” he said. “I think we have to expect this is going to happen in the United States, I hate to say that.”
Critics of the surveillance policy long argued that it violated Muslims’ civil rights, and noted that it failed to turn up any useful evidence about terrorist plots. But Mr. Giuliani argued that the innocent have nothing to fear, and pointed out that the Catholic Church in the past had requested a police presence.
“What rabbi, what priest would care if there were police in their service? What are they saying in the service that they should be concerned about?” he asked.
Mr. Giuliani also criticized President Barack Obama for not directly referencing the religious beliefs of the Paris shooters.
“It’s wrong for the president not to use the word ‘Islamic extremist terrorism.’ It sends a bad signal,” he said. “This is like Roosevelt not using the word ‘Nazi’ during the Second World War, or Reagan not using the word ‘Communism’ during the Cold War.”
Mr. de Blasio’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Long Island Congressman Peter King has made similar calls for surveillance of Muslim Americans.