CAIR-NY 'Disappointed' with Mayoral Candidate Lhota's Defense of NYPD Muslim Spying

joe-lhota(NEW YORK, N.Y., 10/3/13) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today expressed "disappointment" with mayoral candidate Joe Lhota's recent remarks in defense of the NYPD's widespread surveillance of law-abiding Muslims and their religious institutions.

SEE: NYC Republican Mayoral Candidate Defends NYPD Muslim Spying
CAIR-NY Board Member Ibrahim Mossallam said:

"We are extremely disappointed in Mr. Lhota's support for the NYPD's labeling of entire Mosques as terrorist organizations without any evidence of wrongdoing by members of the congregations. In fact, the NYPD has stated that no arrests have resulted from this surveillance since the program's inception. We ask Mr. Lhota to respond to the request of New York Muslim leaders for a meeting so we may have productive dialogue about these clearly unconstitutional police tactics." 

SEE: NYPD Secretly Designated Entire Mosques as Terrorism Organizations (VIDEO)

In August 2013, CAIR-NY, along with other civil rights organizations, urged the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate reported violations of the constitutional rights of Muslims by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). That request came following new revelations by The Associated Press (AP) that the NYPD "has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing."

SEE: CAIR-NY, Rights Groups to Seek DOJ Probe of NYPD 'Terror' Designation for Mosques

CAIR-NY called on New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, candidate for NYC Mayor, to audit costs associated with the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) widespread surveillance program targeting law-abiding Muslims. In a letter to Comptroller Liu, CAIR-NY wrote in part:

"The unwarranted actions the NYPD has taken against the Muslims in New York, cannot and should not be ignored. If issues such as these continue to be put aside it will only escalate into something much worse; a further deterioration into distrust and fear of the NYPD. The NYPD has been financing an unconstitutional policy and practice of targeting entire Muslim communities for discriminatory surveillance ... The NYPD Intelligence Division is able to take such actions only because they have been given ample resources including hundreds of millions in federal, state, and municipal funds." CAIR-NY's letter requests "a full fiscal management and operations audit of the sections and units of the New York Police Department's Intelligence Division."

SEE: CAIR-NY Asks Comptroller to Audit NYPD Muslim Surveillance Costs

In June 2013, The ACLU, the NYCLU, and the CLEAR project have filed a lawsuit challenging the New York City Police Department's discriminatory surveillance of innocent Muslim New Yorkers.

SEE: Raza v. City of New York - Legal Challenge to NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program
SEE ALSO: CAIR-NY Welcomes Legal Challenge of NYPD

CAIR-NY is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Board Member Ibrahim Mossallam, [email protected]; CAIR-NY Operations Coordinator Sadyia Khalique, 212-870-2002, [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, [email protected]