Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Muslim Group Backs Spying

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Muslim Group Backs Spying

Article excerpt

As defenders of the New York Police Department mounted the most sweeping defense yet of the department's surveillance of Muslim communities, Governor Christie refused to budge in his criticism of the NYPD's failure to coordinate with state and local law enforcement.

Two days after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly presented his rationale for spying on Muslim groups in New Jersey and elsewhere in a speech Saturday at Fordham University law school, several dozen Muslim supporters from throughout North America rallied outside NYPD headquarters to praise the spying program.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week strongly defended the spying program, and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, lashed out last week at Christie's criticism of the NYPD. He also spoke at the rally.

The NYPD has come under a barrage of criticism from Muslim leaders and politicians since The Associated Press reported the NYPD secretly monitored Muslims on two Rutgers University campuses, at Muslim-owned businesses and mosques in Newark, and at a Paterson mosque.

Officials in New Jersey, including the FBI, have said they were unaware that the NYPD was spying on New Jersey Muslims. The Star- Ledger reports today that several officials knew to varying degrees that the NYPD was conducting surveillance in the state, though most were unaware of precisely what the NYPD was investigating.

Peter Harvey, who was New Jersey attorney general from 2003 to 2006, is quoted as saying that the NYPD sent officers to do surveillance in New Jersey, and former Gov. James E. McGreevey said New Jersey law enforcement worked closely with other agencies, including the NYPD.

Christie has blasted the NYPD for failing to communicate with state law enforcement.

Christie told reporters Monday he wants the NYPD to simply give notice to the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark whenever officers come to New Jersey to pursue leads or conduct surveillance.

"And I'm not asking them to make 10 phone calls, because I know Ray's a busy guy. One phone call," Christie said, referring to Kelly. "We don't have law enforcement officers tripping over each other, or potentially hurting each other. …

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