The shootings in San Bernardino, coming on the heels of the attacks in Paris, Beirut and against a Russian airliner in Egypt, have reawakened a national debate about “homegrown” terrorism and what steps police and intelligence agencies can take to thwart it. In New York City, it feels as if that debate has been underway for years, from the Bloomberg administration’s research in 2007 on radicalization to the revelations in 2011 about the NYPD’s demographic unit. Lawsuits about the city’s surveillance apparatus remain active even though Mayor de Blasio ended some parts of his predecessor’s approach to counter-terrorism.
City Limits anchored two recent conversations about these topics. In October, I moderated a Brooklyn Historical Society event about the impact of post-September 11 surveillance on Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The speakers were Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, prominent Bay Ridge resident and advocate Dr. Jaber Ahmad and Moustafa Bayoumi, the critically acclaimed author of the award-winning book, “How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America,” and “This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror.”
And just last month, the latest episode of Straight Up, the BRIC reporters’ roundtable filmed at the fabulous Emerson Bar on Myrtle Avenue, I discussed life before and after the Paris attacks with journalists Aviva Stahl and Nida Khan.