A New Jersey attorney general’s review of the New York Police Department’s secret surveillance of Muslim businesses and mosques in the state has found no evidence of wrongdoing, according to the Newark Star-Ledger
“Based on what we saw, their conduct was permissible,” one of the officials involved with the three-month-long review, ordered by Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, told the newspaper.
“There was no evidence of illegal wiretaps or search and seizures. We’re not seeing any violations of law.”
Leaders of the Muslim community who were briefed Thursday on the review findings, expressed disappointment and anger, the Star-Ledger reported.
“We thought the AG was on our side,” said Arab American Forum president Aref Assaf, who called the details of the review “stunning and offensive.”
“I was ready to walk out,” he said, adding, “American Muslims are easy game right now in New Jersey.”
Nadia Kahf, who chairs the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was at the briefing as well. She said community leaders are considering legal options to challenge the surveillance program that took place over six years in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“They have come up with absolutely nothing? No criminal or civil violations? That was very hard to accept,” she said of the attorney general’s review.
Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, agreed, saying the findings should come as “cold comfort to anyone who found themselves under a microscope based solely on their religious beliefs.”
“The issue still remains that the police were targeting religious and ethnic minorities, and New Jersey should have no part in enabling the discriminatory practices of the NYPD or any other law enforcement agency,” he said.
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