The piece has the following:
the news is having side effects: prompting some Muslims to stop frequenting places out of fear of being monitored, or avoiding discussion of politically sensitive topics...
"A lot of families are pressuring their sons and daughters to either not be involved in anything to do with the Islamic Center at NYU, to not pray there, to not go, to not hang out with other members,"
Hunter College Muslim Students Association posted a sign asking students to refrain from having political discussions when initial reports of NYPD surveillance surfaced last year.
Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdul Rashid, president of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, says that while African American Muslims haven't changed their patterns of worship at mosques, Muslim immigrants have. [my emphasis]
I believe that the emphasized text is very important here. African-American muslims, like most all other African-Americans (those being the descendants of the slave trade, not the new arrivals) are well aware of how the government, on all levels, act towards certain "minority" groups. We know that the government, from the very top was involved in infiltrating and disrupting our organizations who's ONLY purpose was toe secure ourselves against racism and certain elements of White Supremacy.
We have read the FBI files on Martin Luther King Jr. We read the FBI files on Malcolm X. We know of the stated purpose of COINTELPRO to disrupt these organizations by various means . We know that any of us who have said, written or so much as viewed something considered "radical" or "pro black" that someone somewhere has a file with our name on it.
We know that the government on every level was convinced that the Black struggle in America was a Communist plot using "Dumb negros" (their words not mine) to further it's aims.
With this knowledge none of us should have been surprised when it was announced that the NYPD was doing surveillance on Muslims in America. As a matter of fact I would hazard to guess that most of us would have been surprised if the NYPD was not engaged in such behavior.
The problem is that many recent immigrants, particularly those coming from countries with oppressive regimes, have bought into some fairy tail fantasy version of America where the government is benign. This mistaken assumption that "America doesn't do this" is why so many of these "new" Americans are so shocked at the news and reacted just like many African-Americans did (and do) when their children or other loved ones became interested in "the black struggle": Telling them to not hang out with those potential radical organizations and people because as to not "catch the eye of the government".
Welcome to America.
What these new immigrants are going to learn is that so long as some members of their group are seen as threats, the entire community is liable to have COINTELPRO type actions made against them. The real difference between the secret police of the regimes that many of the recent immigrants have left and the one they are currently under is that the here it is far more sophisticated and done in a "respectable" way. Citizens here have far more leeway to critique the ruling government which is generally pacifies the general public. However make no mistake, the US has "secret police" just like every other nation that is interested in maintaining institutional power.
This kind of willful ignorance is how we have a civil war going on in Syria and the US talking about who is a war criminal and how the government should stand down, when back in the 90's the government sent in tanks and bombed a compound of religious nut after attempting to serve them with a warrant for allegedly stockpiling "illegal" arms (That's Waco for those who do not know). So how the US can straight faced tell the Syrians what to do to challenges to their authority is beyond hypocritical (this does not serve as an endorsement of the Syrian government's actions).
I would say it would be of great benefit of recent immigrants to learn of the actual history of the United States so they fully understand how this particular system works.