LAW & PUBLIC SAFETY

New Jersey Muslims Speak Out Against NYPD Surveillance

By David Cruz

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Gov. Chris Christie continue to claim ignorance about the extent of the NYPD’s activities in Newark and across the state, but the furor over the surveillance of Muslims in the state continues to grow.

Today, Muslims around the state were mobilizing. At a press conference outside the Robeson Center at Rutgers Newark, a target of NYPD surveillance, representatives from a number of Muslim organizations were expressing outrage and asking for answers.

“We’re American in every sense of the word, yet, over and over again, we have to prove that we’re American,” said Nadia Kahf of the New Jersey Chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations, “and this news of the NYPD surveillance just shows, yet again, that the only reason we are being targeted is because of our ethnicity or our religion and this is completely un-American.”

The report details a program that watched mosques and other places where Muslims congregate in Newark, and across the state, including Abdul Kareem Abdullah’s in Downtown Newark.

“I don’t like the fact that it was done underhanded, because I would [have] much more preferred that someone had contacted me and wanted some information from me,” said Abdullah. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way, so I feel to a certain extent that I’ve been abused.”

The governor and Mayor Booker, along with a string of elected officials, are calling for the state and federal Attorneys General to look into the matter. They say the NYPD is running a rogue operation that is further complicating relations with the state’s Muslim community.

“The sad part is that [Mayor] Bloomberg is totally condoning the idea of spying on innocent people,” added Mohamed El Filali, Outreach Director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County. “It’s outrageous.”


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