The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist groups, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.
But NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says that report is not correct.
"They're hyping a book that's coming out next week," Kelly said of the reporters who made the allegations. "The book is based on a compilation of about 50 articles two AP reporters did on the department."
"If it's a reflection of the article, then the book will be a fair amount of fiction," the Mediaite quoted Kelly. "It will be half-truths, it will be lots of quotes from unnamed course sources."
Designating mosques as terrorist groups would allow the NYPD to conduct more surveillance, allowing them to record sermons and spy on imams. And anyone who attends those mosques would be fair game for surveillance as well.
Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has reportedly investigated at least a dozen mosques. One of them, the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, is the nation's second largest mosque. The NYPD reportedly monitored it for two years.
Civil liberties groups and Muslim activists are speaking out.
"When you don't find democracy in a country always talking about these things, I think you have the right to be angry," Zein Rimawi, with the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, said.
"In all the communities you will always find a bad apple, somebody who's trying to do something bad," New York Muslim Ayub Mohamad said. "But in order to stop that kind of plot don't designate the whole community! That's very dangerous."
But Commissioner Kelly said that's just what the NYPD is doing, going after the "bad apples."
"We investigate people not locations, and we follow leads pursuant to these investigations wherever they take us," he explained.