Informant: NYPD paid me to ’bait’ Muslims into saying incriminating things

A paid informant for the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit was under orders to “bait” Muslims into saying incriminating things as he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending study groups on Islam, he told The Associated Press.

Shamiur Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bengali descent who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called “create and capture.” He said it involved creating a conversation about jihad or terrorism, then capturing the response to send to the NYPD. For his work, he earned as much as $1,000 a month and goodwill from the police after a string of minor marijuana arrests.

“We need you to pretend to be one of them,” Rahman recalled the police telling him. “It’s street theater.”

Rahman, who said he plans to move to the Caribbean, said he now believes his work as an informant against Muslims in New York was “detrimental to the Constitution.” After he disclosed to friends details about his work for the police — and after he told the police that he had been contacted by the AP — he stopped receiving text messages from his NYPD handler, “Steve,” and his handler’s NYPD phone number was disconnected.

Shamiur Rahman, left, sitting with Siraj Wahhaj at John Jay Community College in New York on May 3, 2012. Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bengali descent who has now denounced his work, was a paid informant for the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit and was under orders to “bait” Muslims into saying incriminating things, he told The Associated Press.

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