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CAIR-NJ ‘Disappointed’ at Dismissal of Suit Against NYPD’s Muslim Spying

NYPD-van(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/20/2014) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today expressed its disappointment with the decision of a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against the NYPD for widespread spying on law-abiding Muslims in that state.

In August of 2011, an investigation by The Associated Press revealed an NYPD program developed in partnership with the CIA to target American Muslims with unprecedented monitoring, surveillance and alleged civil rights violations.

AP's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Probe Into NYPD Intelligence Operations

As a result of these revelations, civil liberties groups filed two lawsuits challenging the legality of the NYPD's indiscriminate monitoring of the Muslim community in New York City, New Jersey, and along the East Coast.

The surveillance was part of a comprehensive human mapping program that described and monitored Islamic institutions, including houses of worship, student groups, and businesses that cater to the Muslim community. The NYPD recruited informants it referred to as “mosque crawlers” to monitor religious sermons without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

US District Judge William Martini dismissed the lawsuit in part because he believed that any harms resulting from the NYPD's surveillance were “not fairly traceable to the City” but rather caused by the Associated Press “covertly obtain the materials and publish them without authorization.”

“Dismissal of the lawsuit further promotes the suspicion many Muslims already have, that they will be spied on and there is little they can do about it,” said CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Director Khurrum Ali. “This decision will weaken the belief that community members can protect their civil rights through the justice system.”

The lawsuit was filed by Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights in June 2012 on behalf of an army veteran, a council of New Jersey Muslim religious leaders and an association of Muslim student groups. 

CAIR is 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-NJ Civil Rights Director Khurrum Ali, (908) 668-5900, kali@cair.com; CAIR-NJ Executive Director Mohamed El Filali (908) 668-5900, melfilali@cair.com; or CAIR National Executive Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper (202) 744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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