Sunday 26th of May 2019

Rights groups challenge ruling on New York Muslim spying program

Rights groups challenge ruling on New York Muslim spying program

Center for Constitutional Rights and Muslim Advocates have urged an appeals court to reverse ruling that New York City police could spy on Muslims because of their faith.

Two civil rights groups urged a U.S. appeals court to overturn a ruling that allows New York police to conduct surveillance on Muslims because of their faith.

Attorneys for the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Muslim Advocates argued their appeal Tuesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, according to a joint statement by the groups.

A Pulitzer-prize winning series of stories published in 2011 revealed that the New York City Police Department's intelligence branch engaged in religious profiling and surveillance of Muslims in the city and beyond since 2002.

Police singled out religious and community leaders, mosques, non-governmental organizations and individuals for surveillance that was not conducted against institutions or individuals belonging to any other religious faith, The Associated Press' reports documented.

In 2012, a complaint was filed in a federal court in New Jersey on behalf of several New Jersey plaintiffs who were targeted and under surveillance by the New York Police Department solely because of their religious affiliation.

The court ruled in February 2014 that the surveillance did not harm the plaintiffs and that the security forces' targeting of Muslims because of their faith was justified in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The New York Police Department "has abused its powers for too long and has brazenly violated our core constitutional values of freedom and equality under the law, and we hope that today's argument will pave the way to a ruling to protect Americans of all faiths against discrimination by law enforcement," said Glenn Katon, legal director of Muslim Advocates.

In April 2014, the police department announced it ended the controversial surveillance program. According to the department, in more than six years of spying, the program failed to produce a single lead.

"The Constitution prohibits singling out an entire faith for discriminatory policing, simply because a handful of totally unrelated adherents committed criminal acts," Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy said. "Painful historical lessons remind us that courts should not sanction such overt discrimination by law enforcement, even in times of fear."

The argument comes at a time of growing anti-Islamic sentiment in the West following last week's terror attacks on a Paris satirical magazine that has a history of publishing unflattering depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.


source : www.abna.ir
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