New Jersey Muslims file federal suit to stop New York Police Department from spying on them

The Associated Press reports: A Muslim civil rights group that has worked closely with the Obama administration to build better relationships with American Muslims is suing the New York Police Department over its surveillance programs.

Eight Muslims filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday in New Jersey to force the NYPD to end its surveillance and other intelligence-gathering practices that have targeted Muslims since the 2001 terrorist attacks. The lawsuit alleged that the NYPD’s activities were unconstitutional because they focused on people’s religion, national origin and race.

It is the first lawsuit to directly challenge the NYPD’s surveillance programs that targeted entire Muslim neighborhoods, chronicling the daily life of where people ate, prayed and got their hair cut. The surveillance was the subject of series of stories by The Associated Press that revealed the NYPD intelligence division infiltrated dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups and investigated hundreds.

The Muslims suing the NYPD are represented by Muslim Advocates, a California-based civil rights group that meets regularly with members of the Obama administration. Its executive director, Farhana Khera, said she was disappointed that the Obama administration hasn’t been more involved.

“We do not think that they’ve been given sufficient attention and attention in a speedy manner,” Khera said. “We do think this is an immensely important issue to have the nation’s largest police department targeting Americans based on religion. We do think it merits the attention of the federal government.”

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