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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. Caneman

    Better to be watched by police now than hunted by mobs later, for things you didn't do.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  2. Jack

    Notice the arrogance in the muzlim posts on this site. they refuse to understand our position and do nothing but call names and act like were a bunch of nuts. When we have mobs tossing them out their tune will change. All it will take is one more attack.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  3. tigrr

    Muslims are becoming a horror in the US. In Michigan, they claim they will 'outbreed the americans", their kids refuse to Pledge Allegiance claiming, "thats not my flag", and they are given classes in how to exploit the laws to get free state aid. One family member will own several homes, then rent to relatives who can then get state aid. Public things disappear – toilet paper and lightbulbs from restrooms, picnic tables from parks end up in their yards. Congress has sold America out – again.
    While there are some very nice families, even they do not speak out against the crime of their own people. They're using all the leagal tricks used by Israelis here to push their interests over those of anyone else. Very Anti-American. All these mid-east tribes claim they are here to excape the horrors of their homelands, but they are recreating the mess of their homelands here. Either try to be an American, or book a ticket back home. Boats go both ways.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  4. Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir

    All America has to do is humbly accept its fate and submit to Islam , convert or become Dhimmis , and pay the Gizya tax . Islam is perfect way of life , and Sharia is devine law , not the faulty lie of man made law . Islam is a total way of life , perfect form of government , perfect for womens rights , civil and criminal law , and the only path of lasting peace . I invite you to convert to Islam , and know the peace and security of being amongst over a billion of Allah's sellect chosen people . Islamophobia makes America less safe in the world , and the path to world peace is the International Ummah of United Muslims . Islam is superior , and will consume your land and force Sharia on the people here , for thier own well being , so convert today , and study on how Sharia Law will function as you mandate to Dhimmification .

    June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      yeah, im going to claim you are about as muslim as i am. i call you an agent provocateur.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • PDX James

      I prefer Aesop's fables, myself.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Micheal S

      Sir, you are either a muslim impersonator trying to slander the religion by posting ridiculous posts like this, or you are an idiot. Likely both. Dont speak for the entire religion, the majority of muslims detest your philosophies.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • EagleEye2

      Sorry dirt bag, islam sucks. You are aware of mohamed's pedophilia? The false prophet of a false religion. You will all be erradicated sooner or later. Hopefully sooner if we (Americans) get our way. Your people poison girls because they want to get an education. You are afraid they will become more intelligent then the men and they will. Male islamic fools lack basic education and have no hygiene. You are still living in the dark ages. We will gladly show the the light and the fires of hell. Muslim men are nothing but cowards and woman beaters. Come face us man to man. Oh wait, you would have to be a real man to do that, and the real God knows you are not, as do we. You want some come get some or we'll bring it to you.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • EagleEye2

      Just curious Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir, where do you live? Please provide your home address or the address of your mosque and I'll be glad to discuss this face to face with you. I promise I will not tell anyone that your mom still makes you wear ladies underwear. Ooops, I guess I just did.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Saleem

      And EagleEye2 wins the prize for the most gullible individual on the planet. I guess 100's of years of inbreeding will do that to a person.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  5. splasher6

    I bet Muslins get to have large sodas as well....

    June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  6. PDX James

    What do they expect when they maintain membership in a cult whose books of rules state that all non-members must either be subjugated or killed? Should the government not watch the KKK, the Black Panthers, or members of NAMBLA either? Should we just sit back and wait until members of radical groups kill innocent people before acting? Quit the cult of violence and maybe you won't feel so persecuted anymore.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  7. Frank

    Why don't they survey right wing caucasian christian politicians? They carried out 9/11.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Jack

      Dude, Ithink you need to go back to the asylym

      June 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • CNN Reader

      Frank.

      Wow. Explain how you think that is so? I remember 9/11 well and Atta and his cohorts did not fit your description. Help me understand.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  8. DellStator

    If every group can force the police etc to leave them alone, how will America survive?
    We'll become like Lebanon, or a dozen other 3rd world disasters.
    Every state, county, block and house will be armed camps preying on each other.
    As long a group hangs on to isolationist cultural practices they bring with them from other lands, that are llinked to fear, oppression and terror and US / THEM associations that make racism in the US look like nothing, that group will have problems in the US.
    America was made, predicated on people learning to live with each other so they could concentrate on making their lives better. It has led to, believe it or not, an open culture compared to much of the world, as evidenced by the suburban house, where you monitor, judge, the way your neighbors live, as you can see how they live, yeah, all those front yards do serve a purpose, they say I'm willing to conform, to walk the walk, talk the talk, so you can trust me not to blow you up. Simplistic, yes, but basically true.
    It's called assimilation, it is the difference between the US and about 90% of the world, it's a good thing, it's helped every group that has let it happen, so let it happen, embrace it. Stop complaining, and work on fitting in, adopting the morals and beliefts and culture of the country you seem to want to live in (if not, you're free to leave).
    A dozen other ethnic and religous groups have done so, to their benefit.
    Your childern and grandchildren will thank you.
    PS If the police are successful spying on you, you don't know it, so chill. Again, in the US the police aren't the long arm of the local dictator ready to haul you off to be executed in the night. Yes, there are abuses, but, I'd rather be unknowingly spied on, than have the fringe group down the road amass arms and muntiions for whatever stupid idea they believe in, for some drug lord to take over the neighborhood. You see, I don't have anything to hide. I work, pay taxes, try to enjoy life sometimes, and hope I can do better. Aren't most folks the same? So chill. Sounds insane to you? Then keep working on that assimilation, you'll get it some day.
    PPS I'm routinely investigated at random, without asking me first, is it ok, for any possible mob ties, comes with the turf when you're in construction. Dosen't thrill me, but, I'd rather have that then the "mob" in control of construction.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Rick S.

      @DellStator...very well said. You hit the nail on head in your comment and were quite accurate in your accessment when uit comes to minority groups simply assimilating to the host country they elect to move too and begin a life there. If you look at present day Europe (especially the UK), the governments seem to go out of their way to appease the muslim communities. And look what it's gotten them in regard to good relations with the muslim community. Now the muslims are making perpetual demands, opposed to request. And the govt at even the local levels, change their ways and culture just so the muslims will remain content and not cause a riot or some sort of uproar.

      When governments begin to appease these minority groups they're beginning to enable them which hurts these groups moreso then helping them. Like the old saying..."when in Rome, be a Roman." If Europe continues to act like they are, then in a few decades (if not sooner), their culturals will become something totally different. And these minorities left their native countries for a reason and migrated somewhere else to have a better life. If they bring with them what they initially left. Then they are bound to repeat their old ways of living. To me it seems like Islam is attempting to change countries to become more inline with their culture and religious practices. Opposed to adapting to our way of life. I can see that in American the muslim coummunity is testing our government to see how far they can get away with things. Like they're doing in Europe and getting away with a lot over there. Personally, I don't think the muslims will have even a remote chance of changing things in America, like they've achieved already in Europe. But, they're testing the waters.

      A few years back, a muslim girl tried to sue Target Stores, because she refused to handle any pork products when she was hired as a cashier. Her case was subsequently thrown out of court due to the lack of merits. She was told she isnt forced to work in an environment which will violate her religious practices. But of course this was the CAIR (Counsel of American and Islam Relations) putting this girl up to the lawsuit to see how far it would go. There's a wealth of cases and sitiuations like this all over America. The aforementioned case (Target) occurred somewhere in Minnesota...the twin cities vicinity. If anyone is interested in ascertaining more info regarding this case. I bring this particular case up due to it set an early precedence in how other courts handled similar cases.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  9. cgs

    Muslims stop whining and be practical. The cops don't hate you, they are doing their best to find the bad guys.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  10. laeinstein

    If one remembers immediately after the destruction of the Twin Towers- the nauseating scene of jubilant Muslims celebrating and passing out candy to other well wishes, one can understand the mistrust that has been generated

    June 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  11. Steve

    This is Sad. CNN completly distorts the story. The survelience is on people/mosques that have had contract with knwon terrorism or have been mentioned in investigations. This is how they stopped the baby bottle bomber and the SECOND underwear bomber. I mean should we stop and let them blow shiiit up? This type of survelience is no different then the type they use on the KKK, Skin Heads, Gangs etc etc.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Lance

    Get used to it.... The last time I checked it was muslims that flew planes into the towers and not eskimo's. That's why muslims in that area are being profiled. If they have an issue with it it than maybe their bad and have something to hide. Bottom line is this... muslim terrorists did a bad thing on 9-11 and their being hunted down and killed and thats a great thing. I say profile away and if muslims have an issue with it than move somewhere else!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  13. jimbob22

    The government isn't harassing secular Muslims, only Muslim neo-nazis. Secular Muslims have no problem with any of it, just as regular old Christians have no problem if the government harasses oppressive, anti human rights Christians (eg. Aryan brotherhood types).

    June 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  14. Ted

    If you really condem the radicals among you then stop financing them. Report the activities of the home grown terrorists to police. Then we'll start taking you seriously.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  15. Ken

    I'd rather see them suing Al Qaeda and all theri affiliates for making their life hell. Also try explaining why they still choose to practice Islam when it is bringing the world to a halt.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Steve

      Our charities fun Al Queda as do charities around the world. They arnt monitored nearly enough.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  16. Rl.Lynn

    Should we just forget the FACT that Muslims murdered over 3,000 innocent people in the U.S. on 9/11?

    June 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • derp

      No id iot. Terrorists murdered 3000 people on 9/11.

      Christian terrorists have murdered far more people than that and we don't accept infringing on their rights.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Sam

      Why do you label them to be Muslim? Why don't you say terrorists? They were a small minority of a huge religion mostly devoted to peace. You can take radicals from any religion and deface it. Muslims, Christians, and Jews have religious zealots, that doesn't mean they should be labeled as such. Think before you speak.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • jk

      All of the 911 terrorists were Muslims, so the poster's statement is accurate.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Ted

      All Muslims, if you really condem the radicals among you then stop financing them. Report the activities of the home grown terrorists to police. Then we'll start taking you seriously.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Lance

      terrorists that just happened to be muslims derp. I say profile away and if you don't like it than move somewhere else!
      Typical bleedind heart liberal idiot...

      June 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Mountain Rat

      This is a reply to derp, hey derp are you a retard??? When was it the last time any Christain killed anybody for religious reasons? Get with the times FOOL, its 2012 not 800 AD, you friggin MORON, Muslims killed these 3000 Americans in modern times you FOOL. Why can't MORONS just stick to the subject matter at hand and stop trying to justify the horrible acts of other cultures???? Whats your answer derp???????

      June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Saleem

      Mountain Rat you are kidding right? Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb in Norway killing 8 people and wounding over 200 more and then killed 69 kids at a summer camp. He was Christian and urged Europeans to restore the historic crusades against Islam as in the Middle Ages. A video Breivik released on YouTube 6 hours before the attack has been described as promoting violence towards Muslims and Marxists who reside in Europe.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  17. joseph

    If we follow your logic Mr “US Citizen” all Christians should be prosecuted because they happen to share the same religion with Hitler and Mussolini who where "honest to God" Christians ?

    Stupid ignorance.

    The majority of US Muslims are now American-born or converted so this is the only home they know. You should pick a homeland for them and you to get back to and only leave Native Americans on this land.

    During the history of this country, Irish, Italians and blacks went though similar situations. Now it is the Muslims turn, but the problem they include all races so we will need Homer Simpson to figure this one out DUH

    June 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • jimbob22

      Incorrect. The various minorities you mention were actually discriminated against by the government.

      Muslims have the government discriminate on their behalf, while planting sympathy propaganda in domestic media to continue the 'poor tormented Islamists' meme. It's BS.

      The US government uses psychotic Muslims as its mercenaries, and thus lies out the wazoo *for* Islam, not against it.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  18. jimbob22

    Whoop tee do. More sympathy propaganda and sob stories for Islam from CNN. What a surprise.

    I'm more troubled by the government's torture of Jonathan Pollard, who merely found out how much the State Department is covertly supporting Muslim terrorists.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  19. Kindness

    Something For you.
    A thought to consider without a typical 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. "Let go and let god".
    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

    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

    June 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • ya right

      If you choose to believe any of those books written by man for power and glory. I for one have not been told by God that he has athorized anyone to speak for him/her/it.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Limper

      Or, EVERYBODY can set aside the Bronze Age mythology, think rationally, and just be nice to each other because it's intrinsically right instead of under threat of some sort of eternal punishment.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  20. readthebook

    The statements that if they have nothing to hide, they should be ok with surveillance without cause is bogus, illegal and un-American. It is why we have laws for search warrants and legal intercepts for calls and emails.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:17 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.