Pressure mounts for federal probe of NYPD Muslim spying

Over 120 organizations have asked for a DoJ investigation, following revelations about surveillance of mosques

Published October 24, 2013 5:25PM (EDT)


A spate of revelations in recent years and months -- including the fact that the NYPD had designated entire mosques as "terrorist enterprises" to enable greater surveillance -- has exercised over 120 organizations to demand a federal investigation into NYPD Muslim spying programs.

A coalition of coalition of 125 civil rights, religious and community groups led by the ACLU has written to Attorney General Eric Holder to demand a Justice Department civil rights probe into the NYPD's discriminatory surveillance activities since 9/11 -- an investigation that was promised by the A.G. over two years ago, but has yet to take shape.

As was thoroughly illustrated by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman in their Pulitzer Prize-winning AP series and follow-up book, after 9/11, the NYPD developed a "mini-CIA" intel division, with a number of programs dedicated to dragnet surveillance of and infiltration into Muslim communities in and around New York, regularly based on no suspicion of criminal activity.

Community and civil rights groups demanding federal action claim that the NYPD's practices have abrogated both Fourth and First Amendment protections. While the attorney general vowed to launch an investigation in 2011, there has been little heard from the DoJ on the matter since. The letter sent Thursday, aiming to push the DoJ into action, notes:

For over a decade, the NYPD has engaged in unlawful religious profiling and suspicionless surveillance of Muslims in New York City... The NYPD's biased policing practices hurt not only Muslims, but all communities who rightfully expect that law enforcement will serve and protect America's diverse population equally, without discrimination."

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 Department Of Justice Doj Eric Holder Muslim Muslim Surveillance New York Nypd Police Spying Terrorism