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June 6th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Muslims sue over New York police surveillance

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

(CNN) - New Jersey Muslims filed a lawsuit against the City of New York on Wednesday, accusing police of using unconstitutional tactics to spy on them in the years after September 11, casting an unwarranted shadow of suspicion on the community.

"The NYPD's program targeted innocent Americans solely based on their religious identity," said Farhana Khera, president and executive director of the legal advocacy group Muslim Advocates, which filed the suit on behalf of the eight plaintiffs.

"That's why we believe it is unlawful and needs to stop," Khera said.

Muslim Advocates says it wants an end to the department's "invasive and discriminatory" surveillance program, which it claims targeted at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools and two Muslim student associations throughout New Jersey. The group also wants all related records from the covert program expunged, according to the complaint.

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According to NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, police were in compliance with overarching counterterrorism efforts and standards.

"I refer you to the New Jersey Attorney General's report and to the fact that NYPD activities in New Jersey were lawful, appropriate, and in keeping with efforts there, in New York, and around the world to prevent terrorists from returning here to kill more New Yorkers," Browne said in e-mail.

In May, after a three-month review, New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa declared that New York police did not violate any laws when they carried out surveillance programs across state lines.

The details of the program emerged in August and included a 60-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, showing NYPD maps of Newark and photographs of Muslims' residences and mosques. There was no statement in the document regarding terrorism or criminal activity.

W. Deen Shareef of the Council of Imams in New Jersey, which is among the plaintiffs, said more people are uncomfortable with coming to the mosque to pray because they feel that they are being watched.

"People are concerned with going about their day-to-day life," Shareef said.

The owners of a Newark halal grocery store, also suing the city, say they lost a lot of regular customers since photographs of the market emerged in the report.

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"It has draped a blanket of suspicion over the Muslim-American community and over the people outside of the community that associate with its members," Shareef said.

Shareef, Khera and the other plaintiffs - including a decorated U.S. Army Reservist and a Rutgers College student - say they hope this lawsuit will help lift that blanket.

"What makes America great is that we don't treat each other differently based on on how someone looks or how someone prays," Khera said.

"The Constitution guarantees that every American can be treated equally under law, and we expect government officials to do the same."

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Muslim • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (677 Responses)
  1. the new muneef

    lots of muslims are trying to make a positive impression, but the media portrays only the bad stuff

    June 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  2. the new muneef

    hey! ed, just because a small percentage of muslims went bonkers, doesnt mean every one else did. there are 1.6 billion muslims! and if every one was out to get you, you'd probably be dead already.

    June 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  3. JOE BOB

    The NY Police department has been spying on citizens across the United States illegially as it appears they are not the KINGS of America, Bloomberg is not our GOD and we do not recognize the United States of Bloomberg or anyone else. We do not need the police state they wish to hold us down by. We do not need to be filling prisons up for millions or billions a year only to produce cheap free slave labor. DOWN WITH THE POLICE STATE IMMEDIALTELY, it is Treason agains teh American People.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  4. cctv jogja

    There is a good deal of excellent advice within this page. I am subscribing to your rss feed. cctv camera di jogja

    June 17, 2012 at 2:30 am |
  5. MommaC07

    So being a Christian I look at the muslims as any other person in the World. They don't know the truth. They don't that their beliefs are wrong. They don't know that the god they praying to is a false God. They are doing what all do that have been raised. They are living the only way they know. What they feel is right. I don't look at a Muslim as a threat. I see a lost soul going to Hell when they die. Also why do we judge American Muslims over something that out of the country Muslims did. American Muslims are happy for now, until all the judgemental Americans get them mad that is. They have freedom here, and that is not something they want to lose. Maybe all of us should sit and relax. Hey, maybe even friend them. Everyone could use a friend.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Rob

      Jesus promised an end to all wicked people, Odin promised an end to frost giants, I see evil people every day, but have yet to see a frost giant.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  6. Kindness

    Kindness
    Kindness
    For you.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    June 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  7. ed

    Muslims can not be trusted. Do you ever see them in masses condeming terrorism? I say they must be watched and even more, fewer and fewer should be allowed in our country.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • BlueNC

      You know the only mass condemnation I saw was the Occupy folk and they got arrested after a bit :-)

      June 11, 2012 at 7:18 am |
  8. Misha

    If a person has not committed a crime, what gives them the right? Every Muslim is not a terrorist just because CNN and Fox says so. A lot of people are snapping today...is their religion every brought to the forefront? No, it isn't, unless it's some Middle Eastern sounding name....hypocritical...

    June 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Dear sister Misha thank you for your post. You made my day. People should stop watching FOX and CNN and read the Const.itution.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • ed

      Not every Muslim is a terrorist but most terrorists are Muslims and you will very seldom see a Muslim condeming terrorism.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  9. Reality

    To my sister and brother Muslims,

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    June 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @Reality, You are wrong, there are good and bad people in all religions. Did you not know that Hitler was a christian. Hiltler was known to be a christian who killed many people. We Muslims are very good people.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • nope

      @jesus
      nope

      June 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  11. Hermon Douglas

    if only muslim and their stupid osama bin laden didn't come to kill thousands on 9/11, and if only there are no verses in their koran to encourage violence, if only islam didn't brainwash the Palestinian children to become martyr and hatred toward the Jews, etc..etc.. then maybe (just maybe) Islam will be an attractive and peacefull religion...but, since the facts worldwide tells a different story, then evrybody will say that Islam is merely a product of the devil to block the Salvation by Jesus Christ to humanity..

    June 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • ed

      Agreed, mohamed received his inspiration in a cave, tossed and beaten all over. This is plain, the work of the devil. Nothing good about Islam. All BS

      June 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.