home
RSS
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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

"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."

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Muslim • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (677 Responses)
  1. Jethro

    Glad to hear NJ Muslims are suing. The secret police unit that was conducting these operations needs to be dragged into daylight.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      But then they won`t be secret.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • mike

      What a brilliant thought – yes they would have to follow due process, and provide more information.......hmmm bet they hadn't though of that outcome – bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  2. BenGranger

    No one`s forcing aassive immigration and "assimilation" on Muslim countries.
    ALL white countries and ONLY on white countries.It is geNOcide.
    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  3. Too Much

    We all cheered while we gave much of our liberty in the name of security after the 9/11 attacks. What people fail to realize is that we lose more than just those we lost that day when we overreact and don't stick up for basic liberty which is what this country was truly founded on. What is ironic is that it was a "conservative" president and congress that ushered in this loss of liberty...

    June 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  4. whoCares

    America, love it or leave it, in the case of Muslims please leave.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  5. Keel Hauler

    It's think it's safe to say that 3000 dead Americans would think that the NYPD's practices are OK. Unfortunately they are DEAD! Stop your whining, carpet-kissers.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • aysh

      What about the millions killed by the U.S.? Do they have a say?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Ayeshcamel: First there are not millions, second, they don`t have a say anymore, they are dead you gallah

      June 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • derp

      "It's think it's safe to say that 3000 dead Americans would think that the NYPD's practices are OK"

      What about the Muslims that were murdered on 9/11?

      You think they'd agree?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  6. ICURPNT

    If the muslims aren't doing anything wrong, what are they afraid of? The teaching of the clerics abroad claim muslims from within our country will carry-out attacks. NOWHERE in history have muslims gone and not started to eradicate non-muslims or of another muslim sect. From Constantinople to Armenia, and now USA? Amen to NYPD!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  7. Xavier C.

    They should be deported. The US would be a better, stronger place without potential terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • just sayin

      Xavier C.

      They should be deported. The US would be a better, stronger place without potential terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.

      --–
      Don't forget the Evangelicals aka Christian Taliban.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  8. GoDucks73

    The only good cop is a dead one,

    June 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Keel Hauler

      From a family of cops, go pfhuck yourself.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Hope you go. Away. Soon.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  9. V.P.

    I feel nothing for these folks because my people have been and still get harassed/beaten/killed etc by police in all States and we haven't blown up anything!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • aysh

      LOL...the U.S. hasn't blown up anything? You have got to be kidding me.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Ayeshi: The US blows things up in wars. You, on the other hand blow things up when you lose a soccer game.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Big Bob

      I suspect, that in the last 40 years, most of your people's wounds have been self inflicted.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  10. MIKE

    Keep watching them we don't need any bombers walking down our streets and killing innocence people.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • ICURPNT

      Exactly. Those opposed forget the 1993 Twin Towers garage explosion, or the Islamic plans to blow-up the Lincoln Tunnel, Empire State Building, and a few other sites by another cleric, Blind Rahman. Did we also forget this moo-blah's organization carried out assassinations? These people are ticking suicide bomber recruits.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  11. GitOutNow

    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.

    Right, we treat you differently because of what you and your brethren did on 9/11. We don't want you here. GET OUT.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  12. Ban Islam

    Don't like it muslims? pack your suitcase and bye-bye to iran. How you don't understand that police do it cause most terrorists are muslim, and most muslims are secret sympathizers.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • idunno

      Most terrorists are muslims. When whites commit acts of terrorism we call them freedom fighters. Amirite?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Idunno:no, they call it criminals. In your case, it is terrorism. You even do it when a soccer game is lost.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  13. PC

    "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."

    If they have nothing to hide, why would they feel uncomfortable. Seems like their paranoia might be well justified in the actions of some of their congregants.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • GitOutNow

      Amen to that.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • derp

      So you won't mind when the police search your home for no reason?

      After all, you have nothing to hide.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  14. chsguy

    let's all chip in a few bucks... wait – a minute – we already have.... just tell them to shortest route to the airport and get them out of the U.S.A.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  15. idunno

    Your life is on camera for the police, but when you try to record the police they send you to prison for interfering with official police business. I can see it now, the chief of police of every major city... "What are we going to do about all these people with camera phones catching us doing illegal things during arrests?" ... "I got it, lets make it a felony so we can continue to be above the law".
    -And just the other day in Colorado they shut down a road, stopped 25 cars, forced all the adults out at gun point, handcuffed them all and said they wouldn't let anyone go until they consented to a search of their vehicles. All because someone called and tipped them off about a bank robbery suspect. Good thing they caught the guy, who cares about all the little children traumatized by seeing their parents with a gun to their head.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • idunno

      There's your "safety and needs of the majority" at it's finest. Police spitting on the consitution to keep us safe. If I had my way, becoming an officer would require you to go to law school... you know... so you actually learn the laws before you have the authority to enforce them.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      You no like, drongo man? you go away.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  16. Rick USA

    Actually it is very simple. If someone doesn't like the way the majority feel things in a country should be run, then they have the immediate option of leaving said country and going elsewhere to be a drain.... Bye Bye

    June 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Al

      so the black slaves shouldve been happy with their lives?
      u dumb m@therF4cker!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • derp

      I think the majority of people would think Rick is a putz and should be publicly flogged. Good thing we have majority rule here in America.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Al: that is the stupidest analogy I have ever heard. The minority doesn`t have to be happy. Majority rules.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      We had to teach the South that majority doe snot rule when it comes to rights. Seems the South is always behind...and they are mentally slow and knuckle draggers down there. Perhaps this explains where the bible belt runs?????

      June 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  17. Darn Farm Warn

    Sorry, but the safety of our country and of the majority out weigh the needs and of the minority. Yes, you can sue but your not going to win. You will simply bring public angst in your general direction.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Ahmed

      ur just mad because you don't know how many men have been in ur mom before your dad lol

      June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • derp

      It's a good thing the founding fathers disagree with you.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Ahmed: your comment indicates a weak loser who is desperate.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jack

      Ahmed...your comment also shows your lack of education and ignorance. TYou're not helping your cause.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  18. Punisher2000

    I will try to make an effort here: A lot of Mosques are run by radical Imams, who preach hate against non Muslims. In a lot of Mosques, radicals recruit potential terrorists. These terrorists are trained in Muslim countries, some, professing to be our friends and allies. Once trained these terrorists will commit acts of terrorism against Western Countries. A vast majority of terrorist acts are committed by Muslims. Yet, even for our own safety, we should not watch Muslims, even those who are American citizens, because there has never been any Muslim home grown terrorists. As far I am concerned, now that I understand the whole thing, I say to Muslims in Western Countries, you will be watched. But you can console yourselves, we, who are non Muslims are being watched too and I for one am glad we are.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • AK

      it's not true what you are saying.. if you simply go Friday prayers in any mosque you will come to know this!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • PC

      What is not true, AL ? That

      a) A lot of Mosques are run by radical Imams, who preach hate against non Muslims
      b) A vast majority of terrorist acts are committed by Muslims.

      I think that these points HAVE been proven to be true, but in the USA and in Europe.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • garyford

      Nidal Malik Hasan was a home grown Muslim terrorist.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • derp

      "Nidal Malik Hasan was a home grown Muslim terrorist"

      So was Eric Robert Rudolf.

      I guess we need to start wiretapping Christians too.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Specs

      If nothing happened between the events of September 11th, 2001 (the attacks) and now...I might understand the viewpoint of American Muslims...except the number of events...just in the United States seems to outweigh the notion. Remember the Army Psych Major who thought it was ideal to shoot his own fellow soldiers...in the flipp'n MEDICAL field...where they generally aim to assist ANYONE. How about the Oregon kid who attempted to make a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The failed car bomb in NYC...you get the idea.

      The day that the United States decides to relabel 'Muslim' as an outright hate group instead of a religion...will be a good day for me

      June 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      AK: it is you, unfortunately who doesn`t know what he is talking about. And I can`t go to Friday`s prayer because I will create resentment for being an unbeliever intruding in your service.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • derp

      March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn of Pensacola, Florida was fatally shot during a protest. He had been the subject of wanted-style posters distributed by Operation Rescue in the summer of 1992. Michael F. Griffin was found guilty of Gunn's murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
      July 29, 1994: Dr. John Britton and James Barrett, a clinic escort, were both shot to death outside another facility, the Ladies Center, in Pensacola. Rev. Paul Jennings Hill was charged with the killings. Hill received a death sentence and was executed on September 3, 2003. The clinic in Pensacola had been bombed before and was also bombed subsequently, in 1984 and 2012.
      December 30, 1994: Two receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were killed in two clinic attacks in Brookline, Massachusetts. John Salvi was arrested and confessed to the killings. He died in prison and guards found his body under his bed with a plastic garbage bag tied around his head. Salvi had also confessed to a non-lethal attack in Norfolk, Virginia days before the Brookline killings.
      January 29, 1998: Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer who worked as a security guard at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, was killed when his workplace was bombed. Eric Robert Rudolph, who was also responsible for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, was charged with the crime and received two life sentences as a result.
      October 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot to death with a high-powered rifle at his home in Amherst, New York.[10] His was the last in a series of similar shootings against providers in Canada and northern New York state which were all likely committed by James Kopp. Kopp was convicted of Slepian's murder after finally being apprehended in France in 2001.
      May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed by Scott Roeder as Tiller served as an usher at church in Wichita, Kansas.

      I'd feel a lot safer if christianity was declared a "hate group"

      June 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Derp: IF Christians deserve it, then do it. Got some news for you. Militias and likely organizations are being watched closely as well. And I don`t see Muslims complaining about that, and they know it very well.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Derp. so you keep tabs. These criminals are in a way terrorists. They are also watched get cought and sent to prison.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  19. Observer

    Good job, NYPD. Keep up the good work.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Name*ccriZz

      We can continue to protect our citizens.too bad if muslims don't like it.they don't like it because they are up to no good ,perhaps?! Get the f out if u don't like the way we run our country. Go back and live in the sand or in a hole and reproduce there . You don't deserve to be in this great nation if you don't like the way it's run. Too bad about u your mosques?! What are you hiding? Just what are you planning?too bad those from 911 who are no longer among us can't go to their houses of worship but you can.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    i'm an atheist. i think islam, judaism and christianity need to go away. but this is wrong.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • paul

      and so are you

      June 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Big Bob

      I am too, but I can't deny that the modern world we enjoy in the west was created by JudeoChristian tradition.
      Islam? Not so much. Nice try, though....

      June 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Islam

      bigbob i didn't know they finally hooked up the fiber optic lines to your trailer park, however you should google islam and muslim impact on the judaeo christian world, you might learn something...so push your mom and sister out of bed, take a shower and try to broaden your horizons!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • derp

      "I am too, but I can't deny that the modern world we enjoy in the west was created by JudeoChristian tradition.
      Islam? Not so much"

      Yes, it is a good thing that the west developed advanced mathematics and chemistry.

      Oh wait, Islam did that.

      Nevermind.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Punisher2000

      Islam: there is no impact by Islam on Christianity or Judaism. If anything, Islam was created 632 years after Christianity and a couple of thousand years after Judaism. They sure got their message late fro the Prophets. And making stupid comments about mothers and sisters only indicate how desperate you truly are, reasonable people argue, heatedly so, but don`t throw insults like you do.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Advertisement
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.