Lifestyle & Belief

New Jersey Muslims sue NYPD over spying


New York City Muslims boycott an interfaith breakfast with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, after an Associated Press investigation revealed New York City Police profile Islamic neighborhoods.


Mario Tama

A group of eight Muslims in New Jersey filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the City of New York, seeking to end the New York Police Department's "invasive and discriminatory" surveillance of Muslims, CNN reported.

Earlier this spring, the Associated Press broke the news that the NYPD had launched a secret program in 2007 to catalog Muslim-owned businesses and photograph every mosque in Newark and had also monitored Muslim student associations at colleges across the Northeast.

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In May, after a three-month investigation, New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa concluded that the NYPD did not violate any laws with its monitoring program, CNN reported.

The plaintiffs disagree.

"This is a blanket victimization of a suspect class," plaintiff Farhaj Hassan, a US Army reservist, told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I think this is what the pilgrims crossed the ocean to avoid."

"The NYPD's program targeted innocent Americans solely based on their religious identity," Farhana Khera, president and executive director of the legal advocacy group Muslim Advocates, which filed the suit on behalf of the group, said, according to CNN. "That's why we believe it is unlawful and needs to stop.”

The suit wants specific surveillance of Muslims based on faith declared unconstitutional, Glenn Katon, the legal director for Muslim Advocates, told the Newark Star-Ledger. The plaintiffs are also calling for a court order banning future spying on Muslims by New York police and the destruction of all records from the NYPD’s monitoring of Muslims in New Jersey.

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