Christie Signs Legislation Backing Civil Liberties of Muslims

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 11:32 PM

By Todd Beamon

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that it was important to protect the civil liberties of the state's Muslim community.

"As a former U.S. Attorney appointed in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, I strongly believe we need to do everything in our power to prevent terrorist attacks on our country and keep our people safe," the Republican governor said on Monday. "I also believe we must protect and maintain civil liberties, especially those of the citizens in New Jersey’s Muslim community."

Christie made the remarks as he signed legislation requiring law enforcement agencies outside New Jersey to inform county prosecutors in the state of plans to conduct surveillance activities in the county 24 hours before entering its borders.

Within those 24 hours, the county prosecutor must notify the New Jersey State Police, USA Today reports.

Any New Jersey officers or agencies learning of an out-of-state counter-terrorism investigation must also inform their county prosecutor under the legislation.

Further, out-of-state agencies not complying with the notification requirements can be blocked from their surveillance activity by a New Jersey Superior Court judge.

According to USA Today, the legislation resulted from reports about surveillance efforts by the New York Police Department involving Muslim businesses, mosques and Rutgers University student organizations in New Jersey.

That NYPD entity no longer operates in New Jersey. After an investigation, then-New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa concluded in May 2012 that NYPD had not violated state law, USA Today reports.

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