Muslims Sue NYPD Over Surveillance

(Photo by Seth Freed Wessler via Colorlines)

ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi speaks about a federal civil rights suit her organization, and others, have filed on behalf of Muslims in New York over the NYPD surveillance program. (Photo by Seth Freed Wessler via Colorlines)

Muslim New Yorkers and civil liberty advocates announced at One Police Plaza that they would be suing the City and the NYPD over the police surveillance program on the Muslim community, reports Colorlines‘ Seth Freed Wessler.

They allege that the NYPD engaged in unconstitutional practices that singled out Muslims for profiling and surveillance.  The plaintiffs say that the program has lasting and damaging effects on the day-to-day lives of Muslims in New York who fear they’re spied on for no reason but their faith.

At the press conference, Asad Dandia, 20, a student and co-founder of charity group Muslims Giving Back, spoke about Shamiur Rahman, a man who had offered to help the group last year and whom eventually became close to Dandia.

Months later, Rahman went public about working as an informant for the NYPD. The former informant now considers what he did “detrimental to the Constitution.” But that has provided little comfort to Dandia, who was just one of many ordinary Muslims who got tangled up in the program.

Today, Dandia struggled to hold back tears as he described the impact of that revelation. “I was afraid for my parents because this guy slept over at my home,” he said, adding that since the informant made his identity public, Muslims Giving Back has struggled to raise money, and the group was asked not to hold meetings or fundraise at a Brooklyn Mosque where it had been based.

The suit, filed by the ACLU, New York Civil Liberties Union, and the CLEAR Project, a City University of New York-based legal advocacy group, alleges that the NYPD’s vast program to spy on Muslims in New York and surrounding areas violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause by targeting communities solely on the basis of religion. The groups also claim the program violates the plaintiffs’ freedom of religion. They’re asking the court to enjoin the practices outright and impose an independent, court appointed monitor to enforce the injunction. Other plaintiffs in the case include New York imams and Mosques.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Voices of NY » » Opinion: Relations Between NYPD and Muslims Improving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *