February 24th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Newark mayor urges probe into NYPD spying program

By Susan Candiotti, CNN

New York (CNN) - The mayor of Newark has called for an investigation into a far-reaching New York Police Department surveillance program that was allegedly conducted in the New Jersey city's Muslim neighborhoods.

"The Newark Police Department was not involved in joint operations with the New York Police Department as was described in the disclosed NYPD report," Mayor Cory Booker said Wednesday, referring to a leaked internal New York police document that allegedly detailed police surveillance of Muslim-owned business and mosques across the city.

"I strongly believe that we must be vigilant in protecting our citizens from crime and terrorism, but to put large segments of a religious community under surveillance with no legitimate cause or provocation clearly crosses a line," he said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Islam

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Iqbal Khan


    March 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  2. AmericanTruth

    All of us live in vain! Life is meaningless. You may choose to be whatever, rich, poor, addict,scholar, jew , muslim , catholic, atheist, etc.. But all is meaningless. " WE ALL DIE!"

    February 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • No, you can't have a gun 'cause you'll shoot you eye out.

      American Truth, you sound like just another pitiful little teenage goth obsessed with his miserable mortality.

      February 27, 2012 at 5:10 am |
  3. Keith

    In a shocking case out of Pennsylvania, an American judge has thrown out an assault charge against a Muslim immigrant based on Sharia law.

    The assault victim was the head of the Pennsylvania chapter of American Atheists, Ernest Perce V, who was marching in a Halloween parade as “Zombie Mohammed” next to a fellow atheist dressed as “Zombie Pope.” The former depiction didn’t sit well with Muslim onlooker Talag Elbayomy, who then attacked Mr. Perce. And with an admission of guilt by the assailant and video of the incident, it should have been an open-and-shut case.

    But that’s not how it turned out.

    As Andrew McCarthy at National Review reports:

    Magistrate Judge Mark Martin, a veteran of the war in Iraq, ruled that Talag Elbayomy's sharia defense — what he claimed was his obligation to strike out against any insult against the prophet Mohammed — trumped the First Amendment free speech rights of the victim.

    Yes, you read that correctly.

    Al Stefanelli of American Atheists provides some more information, writing:

    The defendant is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet....

    The Judge not only ruled in favor of the defendant, but called Mr. Perce a name and told him that if he were in a Muslim country, he'd be put to death.

    I wonder, if Elbayomy had put Perce “to death” not knowing that such an action in response to an insult to Mohammed was illegal in America, would Judge Martin have thrown out the murder charge?

    Stefanelli also reports, “Judge Martin's comments included, ‘Having had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam.’ ”

    I’m sure. But it appears Judge Martin knows only a little bit — at most — about American law. Perhaps he should consider the benefit of spending time in a Muslim country permanently.

    February 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Keith

      What it shows is that Sharia law, whether you like it or not, whether it is consti-tutional or not, is HERE. Thanks to cnn and others for promoting it. The law was broken. Justice was not served. I'm a Christian and I support the right of the atheist to do what he did. God gives us free will. If he wants to reject the forgiveness of sins and the grace of our Lord, he's free to do so, albeit to his detriment. I hope he'll reconsider. What I'm afraid of is the support the US is giving in the UN in terms of blashemy laws on an international scale. This is happening. If it continues, no one-atheists included, will be able to speak out against islam in the US. Therefore, this case is extremely relevant. Why does cnn refuse to report on it? This judge needs to be removed. Cnn ignores this because their "pet religion" is exposed for the ugly, horrible religion that it really is.

      February 27, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Tom

      Apparently the message that is sent by this ruling is condoning acts of violence against people who speak out.

      February 27, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    February 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Nope

      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.

      February 27, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  5. alejal

    WOW! The extreme irrational prejudice against Muslims expressed by some is perplexing!
    by Reality
    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere.......
    by BG
    Muslims are the absolute -last- people on earth to judge anyone.
    by Islam is one sick crew
    The best way to spy on Jersey Muslims is with the scope on a high powered sniper rifle in the hands of a competent NYPD swat team member.

    February 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Jebus

      These comments must be "perplexing" to you because they're not extreme, irrational or prejudicial. I'm sure that it would be much easier for you to understand if they were. So, sit down and think real hard about why anyone might have reason to say these things.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Reality

      Some of the many reasons Muslims cannot be trusted anytime or anywhere:

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      February 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  6. AGuest9

    Personally, I'd like to know why NYPD has to do Homeland Security's job. Maybe a little less feeling up women at airports, and a little more detective work?

    February 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • BG

      The NYPD was the lowest bidder on the Homeland Security outsource contract. Plus DHS paid for all their surveillance equipment.


      NYC is targeted for muslim terrorist activity, therefore it's reasonable for them to take proactive defensive measures against 'their' muslims. (along with 'feeling up' alll the little old muslim ladies at the airports as well... I just hope they get extra pay for having to do it.)

      Go to Atlasshrugs.com for a list of all the illegal activities they've found muslms doing in NYC.


      It's reeeeaally heating up. The more they run their mouths, carry on, and kill innocent Americans the more they totally trash whatever credibility they have – even with ignorant American liberals.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • ajal

      BG you argue that the NYPD should be able to openly discriminate against Muslims, and then you support your argument by saying that the NYPD has found crime in their community.
      Doesn't that apply to every community in NYC?
      For example Bernard Madoff, who committed massive fraud at a scale not seen before in history is Jewish.
      Alan Hevesi, the former New York State Comptroller currently incarcerated for corruption is also Jewish.
      Should that be used as an argument by any law enforcement agency to investigate New Yorkers who are Jewish?
      The answer to that is clearly NO.
      It is clear to me that the vast majority of the members of the various communities that enrich our wonderful NYC are wonderful human beings that are mostly consequent with the ethical and moral standards that they hold dearly and which may have been passed to them through religious education or through family values or acquired through rational thinking.
      Your posting denotes intense prejudice on your side towards Muslims.
      Not many Americans would agree with you when you write, that
      ... it is reasonable for the NYPD to take proactive defensive measures against 'their' muslims.
      Who's going to be next according to your loose criteria ???

      February 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • BG

      How about the Mafia? Hispanic gangs? Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam? Bankers, irrespective of their nationality? The criminally insane? Geez, how many files do you think the FBI has accu mulated on all these 'groups?' Think they've had
      good reason to investigate them? Sure they have. How many 'members' of these groups have cried "prejudice!" while being investigated? The Italian-Americans? La Raza? If anything, bankers are the only group that can claim 'diversity' among their membership, and are thus exempted.

      Yep, I've got a bias against all those groups. Not a bigotry or prejudice – but a genuine bias supported by objective rationale. The word bias gets a bad rap, and is usually lumped in with the subjectivity of bigotry or prejudice. We all have our biases, even you, ajal. Some folks are even genuinely prejudiced; this is, of course, unfortunate.

      "... ethical and moral standards... passed to them through religious education or through family values or acquired through rational thinking."

      The 'value' you as sign to these 'standards' depends entirely on your definition of "ethical and moral," wouldn't it?
      (that's a rhetorical question.) One might successfully argue that the subjectivity of religious 'education' (an oxymoron in my estimation) or 'values' are overly-influential in molding bigotry & prejudice.

      Let's ask some Muslim family honor killers what they think, shall we? Or the rioters who are killing both their own and Americans over a book being burned... Do they kill their children for 'honor' out of bias or bigotry? Do they stone their women for rational reasons? Do they have their daughters cli toruses cut off for 'medical' reasons? Do they bomb buildings because of reason – or unbridled hate based upon religious dogma?

      Muslims are the absolute -last- people on earth to judge anyone. They are no more capable of rational objectivity or critical thinking than any other group drowning in it's own self-interest and self-importance.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  7. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 25, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  8. loupgarous

    If we were talking about Branch Davidians here, no one, not even Cory Booker, would be upset. Yet the Branch Davidians never hurt anyone until their property was invaded by force by people who never identified themselves until they showed up holding guns. Some of the Muslims of New Jersey detonated a bomb in the World Trade Center in 1993. ALL of them subscribe to a religion that demands the death or submission of Christians, Jews, or branches of Islam that don't conform to the individual Muslim's BRANCH of Islam. The NYPD has MORE than enough warrant to sit out in the open monitoring the movements of people who hold those beliefs.

    February 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  9. loupgarous

    I would bet the citizens of Newark are comforted that their mayor is so upset about routine surveillance of a group associated with terror in the past (Ramzi Yousef, of 1993 World Trade Center bombing infamy, lived in Jersey City, so Jersey Muslims are indeed a worthwhile group to watch if you're interested in terrorists) that he's upset that the NYPD's out there watching stuff happen in the open, just like everyone else. Employment with the NYPD isn't like being Conan O'Brien – you can still visit New Jersey without a personal note from Cory Booker.

    February 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  10. loupgarous

    I have to side wth the NYPD on this one. Were they opening people's mail? No. Listening to their phone calls? No. Reading their Email? No. What the NYPD was doing was monitoring the open and public movements of people who belong to a religion which demands the death or enslavement (through religious submission) of most of New York's citizens. If the Muslims of Newark object to this, they should reconsider their choice of religion.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  11. Chris

    Nothing like a good old witch hunt to bring America back to it's roots.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  12. Islam is one sick crew

    The best way to spy on Jersey Muslims is with the scope on a high powered sniper rifle in the hands of a competent NYPD swat team member.

    February 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  13. Keith

    Here's a good place to start: Mechanicsburg, PA. MUSLIM judge Mark Martin letting another muslim who assaulted an atheist(because he was impersonating Mohammed) go free. I'm no fan of atheists-especially those on this blog-but this guy got the shaft from a Sharia law judge in the AMERICAN court system. Does this story resonate with anyone? Does it bother you? It should. Why the hell won't cnn do a story on this??? Because it portrays their "pet" religion in a bad light. Prothero, Gilgoff-are you listening?

    February 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • BG

      I'm sure that they're well aware... You can look forward to a concentrated barrage of Catholic / Santorum / etc. bashing over the next few days in an attempt to distract the belief blog readers from this.

      I'm sure that Gilgoff and company either don't have the balls to deal with this or that they've already got their marching order from their Muslim investor-handlers.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  14. mickey


    February 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  15. RightTurnClyde

    Everybody has a right to observe anything in public view and even to take pictures of it. They do not have to be the NYPD or the Newark PD (the Hollywood paparazzi watch everything). We are still free (not fr long maybe) and can go anywhere in the U.S. and take pictures of anything you can see. The mayor has nothing to say about it or even the sheriff. Area 51 .. you can go as close as the front gate. It's a free country (so far)

    February 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  16. mickey

    GOD: God is the Creator of the universe in all its dimensions and the source of Knowledge in all sentient beings.
    God has sent a New Revelation, a Teaching and a Pathway to rekindle humanity’s relationship with the Creator as we face living in a declining world. The New Message comes with the Will and Power of God to unite the world’s religions, to end our ceaseless conflicts and to call forth the greater gifts that each person has brought into the world. The New Message is the largest Revelation of its kind ever to be given to humanity.
    We stand at the threshold of Great Waves of environmental, economic and political upheaval and change which will alter the face of Earth. Humanity must unite to prevent collapse from within and subjugation from without.
    Each of us has been sent into the world for a greater purpose, waiting to be discovered. This greater purpose resides beyond the realm and the reach of the intellect, in Knowledge that lives deep within us.
    KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge is the core reality within us, a deeper mind beyond the intellect, and is our direct connection to God. Knowledge represents the part of us that has never left God. Instinct and Intuition are at the surface of Inner Knowledge.
    We live in a Greater Community of intelligent life in the universe for which humanity must prepare.
    We live in both a mental and physical environment. The mental environment contains forces that affect our thinking and emotions and that can dominate us until we become strong with Knowledge.


    February 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      .. mickey, mickey, mickey,mickey .. you gotta stop doin that stuff... it's not good for you..

      February 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • William Demuth

      If your creator wants a realtionship with me, tell him to bend over.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • God of Death

      Go and use logic ...

      You had no choice [absolutely no choice] in where you were born, when you were born, and to whose family you were born into, and the same as to the name you were given. These are facts.

      Then you grew up and became scared of death. Believed in fairy tales.. what a shame that you couldn't even see the same logic of choice that is anchored into your supposed god. Your god has no choice and no death. We humans do. Appreciate this vast difference. To know this logic is to abolish your god.

      February 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  17. Reality

    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?

    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..................................

    February 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      It is the Christian Lin bast.ard I don't trust. Keep an eye on him. I heard he was "training" at basketball camps. Now all the sudden he has skeeeeels? This is leading up to somehing and I don't like it one bit.

      February 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      You got that right! You cannot trust those slinky camel lovin mulla tuckers any more than a yellow bellied catfish.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 24, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      Proven (no need to thank me)

      February 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  19. William Demuth

    Booker wants to be President someday.

    So he needs the press!

    February 24, 2012 at 11:33 am |
About this blog

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.