Fed Court: Counterterrorism Program Doesn’t Violate Muslim Civil Rights
In a hugely important development—largely ignored by the mainstream media—a federal judge has ruled that a New York Police Department (NYPD) surveillance program to thwart terrorism was lawful and did not violate Muslim civil rights.
A coalition of Muslims, including businesses, mosques and individuals, sued the city of New York over a once-secret surveillance operation conducted by the NYPD’s intelligence unit to identify “budding terrorist conspiracies.” The program included sending undercover officers to New Jersey mosques, restaurants and schools. It was an undercover operation until a national newswire published confidential police documents without permission from authorities.
The Muslim plaintiffs claimed in their 2012 complaint that the program was unconstitutional because it focused on religion, national origin and race. “By targeting Muslim entities and individuals in New Jersey for investigation solely because they are Muslim or believed to be Muslim the program casts an unwarranted shadow of suspicion and stigma on plaintiffs and, indeed, all New Jersey Muslims,” the lawsuit states. It further alleges that the Muslims have “suffered from the stigmatization” of being singled out for surveillance based on their religious beliefs, which in turn will invite “additional prejudice and discrimination” against all Muslims.
A federal judge in Newark, William Martini, blasted the argument and dismissed the outrageous lawsuit against the city a few days ago. The Muslims weren’t targeted solely because of their religion, Judge Martini found, writing in his decision that “the more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies.” He added that “the police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. . . The motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among the ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.”
The judge points the finger at the news organization that exposed the secret operation by using confidential NYPD files. “Nowhere in the complaint do the plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of documents by The Associated Press,” Judge Martini, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote. “This confirms that plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from The Associated Press’ unauthorized disclosure of the documents. . . . The Associated Press covertly obtained the materials and published them without authorization. Thus the injury, if any existed, is not fairly traceable to the city [of New York].”
The leftist civil rights group that represented the Muslims lambasted the ruling, asserting in a statement that it gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims everywhere. “The ruling is a modern day version of the discredited Korematsu decision allowing the wholesale internment of Japanese Americans based solely on their ancestry. It is a troubling and dangerous decision,” the group further said in its statement.