NJ Mosque Uses Publicity About NYPD Surveillance In Ad Campaign

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The leader of a New Jersey mosque that was listed in a secret NYPD surveillance report is using the incident to try and recruit new members and promote a more positive view of Muslims.

Imam Mustafa El-Amin of Masjid Ibrahim in Newark ran an advertisement Thursday in The Star-Ledger newspaper urging people to read the Quran, denouncing terrorism and emphasizing that his mosque has an “open door” policy.

Under a bold-letter headline that reads: “NYPD Surveillance of Muslim Community,” the ad says there’s no need for the NYPD or any other agency to conduct secret surveillance of the mosque, because: “We have nothing to hide. Our doors are open.”

El-Amin says he came up with the idea after reflecting on a phrase in the Quran — “With every difficulty, there is relief” — and realizing that finding a positive, teachable moment out of a negative experience is a concept deeply rooted in Islam.

“We’ve heard a lot about the negative effects, but once you get this level of exposure, one of the best things about it is, if you’re positive, than the positive will win out,” he said.

El-Amin was one of several Muslim leaders who met in March with New Jersey’s attorney general following a series of stories by The Associated Press that detailed the monitoring or recommended surveillance of Muslims in New York and New Jersey, including the mapping of mosques in Newark — Masjid Ibrahim among them. NYPD officials have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The leaders have asked State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa for a formal investigation into whether New Jersey law enforcement officials were involved in the surveillance and whether it was conducted in violation of any state or federal laws. There have been signs the AG is looking into it, El-Amin said, but no formal investigation has been announced. A spokesman for Chiesa said Thursday there was nothing new to report.

Attendance at El-Amin’s largely African-American mosque, housed in a converted storefront along a gritty commercial strip in Newark, has not waned in light of the NYPD revelations, he said. Nevertheless, he felt compelled to run the ad for a variety of reasons: to attract new people to the mosque — potential Muslim converts, law enforcement officials or people of any faith wanting to learn more about Islam — to emphasize the mosque’s long-running stance against terrorism, and to set non-Muslims at ease, especially those who were once friendly to the mosque but are now wary of visiting Muslim businesses or mosques that were listed in the NYPD report.

“You have to be innovative, when something concerns you or your community,” El-Amin said of taking out the ad. “It’s not purely advertising; it’s to state unequivocally that we have nothing to hide.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • ripon

    folks Islam is peace. if you really wanna know about islam & Muslim around the world then you are all welcome.Mosque is open during the prayers time for everone; English version Holy “Quran” is available at the mosque/ islamic Library. THe Holy Book “Quran” came from Allah for all the resistance in the earth.

  • sk

    if moslems really feel they are inocent they should all agree to this open door policy! (like any other group!) its funny how liberals still argue over using survillence in mosques, but there are moslems who are okay with this!

    • KPMc

      “if moslems really feel they are inocent they should all agree to this open door policy! (like any other group!)”

      You think every church and synagogue in America is open to the public for education and enlightenment?

  • DanTe

    !s1am: It’s a Disease in need of a Cure.

    FACT: Everywhere where there are M U S L I M E S, sh-!t happens.

    China — sh-!t happens
    (suicide b0 mbers that kill little children and run amok with metal pipes in the streets)

    India — sh-!t happens
    (M U S L I M E S burned 100s of Hindus alive in packed trains and burned villagers alive while they slept)

    Middle East — sh-!t happens
    (suicide b0 mbers that kill little children)

    Russia — sh-!t happens
    (suicide b0 mbers that kill women and children in crowded theaters)

    South East Asia — sh-!t happens
    (M U S L I M E thugs who kidnap teachers, school children, nurses, priests for ransom, than murder them all)

    Europe — sh-!t happens
    (suicide b0 mbers that kill little children)

    USA — 9 / 11 happened

    Notice the pattern here? Even you sanctimonious twits can’t be that dense.

    Goes to reason, no M U S L I M E S, no sh-!t.
    All these camel turds understand is violence and lies anyway. I say we oblige them by killing them all and then lie about how sorry we are.

    !s1am. It’s a disease. And like any other infestations of boils, pox and pestilence, it should be eradicated. You don’t talk to diseases. You eradicate them like you did polio and small pox.

    And some bleeding heart imbecile here will write that it’s just a few “radical” individuals that are murderous, just like any other society. But then conveniently forgetting about the Fact that it happens worldwide and by a LOT MORE than just a few individuals. And they also continues to blank out of their empty heads the worldwide M U S L I M E jubilee celebrations as people burned on 9 / 11.

  • smokersodysseycom

    Islam, unlike mormonism or scientologist, is an evil cult…scheck out St, Francis, he said it was evil in the…13th cnetury.

    • KPMc

      Oh well.. that cinches it. If a Catholic leader in the 13th century said something it MUST be true.

      So… you’re ok with a guy who got divine intervention by talking into his hat and another one who created his religion based on a science fiction dare but the muslims… not so much.

  • Bullett

    Maybe this mosque should be shut down as a health hazard. Not to the people who use it, but for the people who live in the area.

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