City denies well-documented NYPD Muslim spying program exists

Attorney for the city tells court "I 100 percent disagree that there was ever a Muslim surveillance program"

Published October 8, 2013 6:44PM (EDT)


In a Brooklyn court Tuesday, a lawyer representing New York City in a lawsuit regarding NYPD surveillance of Muslim communities stated, "I 100 percent disagree that there was ever a Muslim surveillance program." This, despite the fact that the NYPD's sprawling surveillance of mosques, schools and Muslim community centers has been well documented, best of all by Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. Informants have come forward and admitted taking part in NYPD Muslim spying, it's even been revealed through documents that entire mosques were designated terrorist organizations by the police to enable surveillance.

Nonetheless, as HuffPo's Matt Sledge reported, "Responding to an ACLU lawsuit claiming religious discrimination that seeks to force police to turn over surveillance records, city lawyer Peter Farrell claimed 'there is no Muslim surveillance program.'"

Via Sledge:

Farrell said it was logical for the police to be concerned about extreme members of the faith.

"Since 2001, the terrorist threat against New York City has been by Islamists who are radicalized to violence," Farrell said. It would be foolish, he said, for the NYPD to act "in this vacuum that plaintiffs ask this court to work in."

Farrell's argument seemed to highlight what ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi said was "the heart of this lawsuit" -- the idea that law-abiding Muslims should be subject to surveillance because perpetrators of 9/11 terror attacks were Muslim.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Aclu Discrimination Lawsuit Mosques Muslims New York Nypd Spying Surveillance Terrorism