Police spying on Muslims in New Jersey after 2001 was legal, judge says
Linkedin

Police spying on Muslims in New Jersey after 2001 was legal, judge says

New York City : NY : USA | Feb 20, 2014 at 7:44 PM PST
XX XX
Views: Pending
 

The rights of Muslim residents of New Jersey were not violated when police infiltrated mosques and student groups in a search for potential terrorists, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

In a civil rights lawsuit brought by eight New Jersey Muslims who contended that police improperly targeted them because of their religion, US Judge William Martini found their rights were not violated because the law enforcement strategy made sense.

"The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself," the judge wrote in his ruling dismissing the lawsuit.

"The motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among the ordinary law-abiding Muslims," the decision said.

The eight contended that surveillance programs by the New York Police Department in the aftermath of the Sept. 2001 terrorist attacks were unconstitutional.

Their lawsuit alleged the police had spied on people at mosques, restaurants and schools in New Jersey beginning in 2002, according to the Associated Press.

That the New York police had engaged in broad surveillance of Muslim Americans was revealed in a series of articles published by the news service beginning in 2011.

That fact prompted stern comments from Martini, who said any injuries suffered by the eight plaintiffs were the result of the AP's decision to publish the information, which the judge said was unauthorized.

"Plaintiffs' alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press's unauthorized disclosure of the documents," Martini said.

"The injury, if any existed, is not fairly traceable to the city," the judge said.

Plaintiff Farhaj Hassan, a US soldier who served in Iraq, told the AP that the ruling was disappointing.

"I have dedicated my career to serving my country, and this just feels like a slap in the face -- all because of the way I pray," he said.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the San Francisco-based Muslim Advocates organization, which represented the plaintiffs, called the decision troubling.

"The court's decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion," the center's legal director, Baher Azmy, told the AP.

A second, similar lawsuit filed in federal court in New York is still pending, the AP said.

1 of 1
Sept. 11 attacks
Smoke billows from the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York after they were struck by hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001. Both buildings eventually collapsed, killing thousands.
Nathan Salant is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
Report Credibility
 
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
 
 
 
Advertisement
 

Images

 >
 
  • 	Smoke billows from the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York after they were struck by hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001. Both buildings eventually collapsed, killing thousands.

    Sept. 11 attacks

More From Allvoices

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report



Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.