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When Your Block Is Being Watched

In her new documentary, journalist Assia Boundaoui explores the effect of constant surveillance on her predominantly Muslim neighborhood in suburban Illinois.
For years, the FBI's "Operation Vulgar Betrayal" kept a close eye on mosques, schools, and community meetings in a Chicago suburb. And residents knew it.
For years, the FBI's "Operation Vulgar Betrayal" kept a close eye on mosques, schools, and community meetings in a Chicago suburb. And residents knew it.The Feeling of Being Watched/Assia Boundaoui

Late one night when she was 16, Assia Boundaoui woke up to a light flashing in her face. She got out of bed, walked to her window, and looked outside into the still streets of her hometown of Bridgeview, Illinois, a middle-class suburb of Chicago. That’s when she saw them: two men perched on the telephone pole, fiddling with the wires, with flashlights in hand.

Frightened, Boundaoui ran to her parents’ room and relayed the incident—but received little reaction.