In an ongoing investigation, the Associated Press is consistently revealing that the New York Police Department has had its eye firmly fixed on the Muslim community since September 11, 2001, monitoring neighborhoods, religious leaders, and students everywhere they go with the help of the CIA. Some say the once-secret program violates basic civil rights; the AP is here to inform us that it gets worse. In a new report, we learn that Muslims who change their names to sound more American are investigated, as are Muslims who take on Arabic names. White people who change their names, not so much:
The NYPD monitors everyone in the city who changes his or her name, according to internal police documents and interviews. For those whose names sound Arabic or might be from Muslim countries, police run comprehensive background checks that include reviewing travel records, criminal histories, business licenses and immigration documents. All this is recorded in police databases for supervisors, who review the names and select a handful of people for police to visit.
For a while, police used to add people with American names to the list, "so that if details of the program ever leaked out, the department would not be accused of profiling," but that's a lot of extra work.
As the AP notes, stripping names of their cultural uniqueness used to be the American way: "The Roosevelts were once the van Rosenvelts. Fashion designer Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz. Donald Trump's grandfather changed the family name from Drumpf." Cassius Clay, of course, went the wrong direction.