Other campuses: Playing God with politics (Boston U.)

By The Daily Free Press

(U-WIRE) BOSTON – Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is not saying he wants to place wiretaps in mosques because he feels he can answer a Muslim’s prayers or because he wants to protect an institution which a rising number of anti-Islamists are threatening more each day.

The governor’s remarks show his potential willingness to infringe on the rights of a religious group, hoping that it may provide more clues to finding the enemy in President Bush’s War on Terror.

Romney, a republican, has already drawn intense criticism from civil rights organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts for saying, “How about people who are in settings – mosques, for instance – that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror? Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping?”

The governor has failed to realize that setting up wiretaps in mosques, even when U.S. intelligence services have provided no indication of a specific threat, is not only unconstitutional but morally wrong. Mosques are holy places of worship, not underground cells that encourage Islamic extremism. And the overwhelming majority of Muslims denounce terrorism as a horrifying sacrilegious act.

In addition to wiretapping mosques, the governor has also suggested monitoring foreign students. To a certain extent, the federal government has already established close monitoring of students who come from Islamic nations, even students who present no reasonable suspicion to authorities. It would be unnecessary and a further infringement on basic privacy rights for the state government to double the federal monitoring effort.

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No official would consider wiretapping churches and synagogues, and mosques are in no different category of religious institutions. The governor should not play God in overseeing the everyday operations of such holy places of worship.

Staff Editorial

The Daily Free Press (Boston U.)