Relgion News Service — Islamic leaders say they are shocked that a review by New Jersey’s state attorney general into the New York Police Department’s secret surveillance operation targeting Muslim businesses and mosques in New Jersey found the NYPD did nothing wrong.
The three-month probe, ordered by Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, concluded there was no evidence to show the NYPD’s activities in the state violated New Jersey’s civil or criminal laws.
“Based on what we saw, their conduct was permissible,” said one of the officials involved with the review who was not at liberty to discuss the report publicly. “There was no evidence of illegal wiretaps or search and seizures. We’re not seeing any violations of law.”
Members of the Muslim community — summoned to Trenton on Thursday (May 24) to be briefed on the review — reacted to the findings with anger and disappointment.
“We thought the AG was on our side,” said Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum, who called the revelations at the meeting “stunning and offensive. … I was ready to walk out.”
“American Muslims are easy game right now in New Jersey,” Assaf said.
Nadia Kahf, who chairs the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said she and other community leaders are now exploring legal options — perhaps a lawsuit challenging the six-year-long surveillance of their community.
“After two months of fact-finding, they have come up with absolutely nothing? No criminal or civil violations? That was very hard to accept,” she said.
Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, questioned the findings as well.
“The New Jersey attorney general’s statement that the NYPD violated no New Jersey laws by spying on Muslim houses of worship comes as cold comfort to anyone who found themselves under a microscope based solely on their religious beliefs,” he said. “The issue still remains that the police were targeting religious and ethnic minorities, and New Jersey should have no part in enabling the discriminatory practices of the NYPD or any other law enforcement agency.”Continue Reading on www.religionnews.com