Muslims sue to stop NYPD spying program

Muslim civil rights activists are headed to court to end a New York City Police Department program that they say … Continued

Muslim civil rights activists are headed to court to end a New York City Police Department program that they say violates their constitutional rights by spying on Muslims based only on their religion.

The lawsuit, Hassan et al. v. City of New York, is the first legal challenge against the NYPD’s alleged spying and profiling of Muslim Americans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that was first reported by The Associated Press last year. The suit, to be filed Wednesday (June 6) in a federal court in New Jersey, seeks an “immediate end” to the NYPD surveillance program, and calls for the NYPD to destroy all records of information obtained through the program.

Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a San Francisco-based civil rights group representing the plaintiffs, said civil rights groups, congressmen, and other officials have called on U.S., New York, and New Jersey officials to investigate the NYPD’s alleged spying, but to no avail.

“It’s come to the point that the community feels like politicians have failed them, so now they’re turning to the courts to seek justice,” Khera said.

By allegedly spying on Muslim-owned businesses, mosques and community centers, the NYPD violated the First Amendment right of free practice of religion, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection of all citizens, she said.

“A program that targets Muslims just because they’re Muslim is clearly in violation of these amendments,” said Khera.

Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the NYPD, told Religion News Service that the program was “lawful and appropriate, and in keeping with efforts there (in New Jersey), in New York, and around the world to prevent terrorists from returning here to kill more New Yorkers.”

City officials have defended the program repeatedly, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying in February that “the police department goes where there are allegations. And they look to see whether those allegations are true.”

A three-month review by New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa concluded there was no evidence to show the NYPD’s activities in the state violated New Jersey’s civil or criminal laws, a finding that deeply disappointed Muslim groups.

The plaintiffs are a collection of mosques and Muslim-owned businesses named in the NYPD reports, and individual New Jersey Muslims who visited the organizations mentioned in NYPD reports.

“It saddens me that despite serving my country, the NYPD leadership views me as a suspect because of the way I pray,” said Spec. Farhaj Hassan, the lawsuit’s lead plaintiff and an active U.S. Army National Guardsman who served 14 months in Iraq.

After Rutgers University junior Moiz Muhammed heard that the NYPD allegedly spied on his school’s Muslim Student Association, to which he belonged, he stopped performing ritual prayers in public view, and became scared to talk with strangers about religion or politics.

“For all I know, someone could interpret my praying as a sign of extremism, or be wearing a tape recorder and taking my comments out of context,” Muhammed said. “People need to realize this is not a good way to get intelligence. A much better solution would be to engage Muslims.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Universal Uclick.

  • RedHogg

    The stated Muslim objection is faulty at many levels. History tell us those who adhere to teaching of this so called religion may also harm to America and Americans. In 2012 this is a unique assessment attributed uniquely to Islam therefore monitoring is reasonable rational and practical.

    There seems to be this idea that because one is a member of a “religious class” they are then somehow exempt from police inspection.

    As a nation our laws are not in place (religious or otherwise) to be used as a tool to defeat us from within as is the documented Muslim ajenda in the United States. We are aware and as all other aggressor they will be defeated

  • EddietheInfidel

    My comment is not being posted… what’s the problem?

  • EddietheInfidel

    Please detail the problem at your earliest convenience, WaPo staff… I’d love to hear your excuse.

Read More Articles

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_186686495
The End of Surveillance for New York Muslims — For Now

How American Muslims modeled the right response to systematic injustice.