The New York Police Department’s widespread spying programs directed at Muslims have undermined free worship by innocent people and should be declared unconstitutional, religious leaders and civil rights advocates said Tuesday after the filing of a federal lawsuit.
“This surveillance, this spying, without question, was– unjustified. And it was definite, without doubt, an invasion of our civil human and our constitutional rights,” Abdul Kareem Muhammad, the Imam of Newark’s Masjid al-Haqq mosque, said.
The reports indicate cops collected information on businesses owned by second and third generation Americans, specifically because they were Muslims, and ignored members of other religions in the same ethnic communities.
The NYPD has been under fire for monitoring mosques, Muslim merchants and student groups. Critics call it race-based spying. But on Monday, many Muslims gathered to say it’s not spying; it’s good police work, necessary to keep the city safe.
Jose Pimentel, Samir Khan and Faisal Shahzad might not be household names, but the NYPD says its undercover work in the Muslim community kept them from blowing up your households.
Is it religious profiling or good police work? An intense debate is underway in our area amid new revelations that NYPD spying on Muslim communities included neighborhoods in Nassau and Suffolk counties and Newark, N.J.