Newark to Probe NYPD Muslim Spying

After AP shows mayor huge file detailing snooping in the city

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 22, 2012 12:11 PM CST

(Newser) – When the AP showed Newark Mayor Cory Booker a file detailing the extent to which the NYPD's "Demographics Unit" had spied on his city's Muslims, he was caught off-guard. "Wow," he said. "This raises a number of concerns." Soon after, he said he'd launched an investigation. "We're going to get to the bottom of this," he promised. The NYPD has said it coordinated its Newark spying with the city's police department—which was then headed by an NYPD alum—but Booker says he was never told.

The 60-page report includes profiles of Muslim-owned businesses and their clientele, along with photos and maps of all of Newark's mosques. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that his police do not consider religion in their policing, but the report makes clear that Muslims were specifically targeted. Asked yesterday about this similar report that Muslim student groups throughout the Northeast were monitored by the NYPD, Bloomberg replied, "The police department goes where there are allegations. … Remind yourself when you turn out the light tonight." But neither report contains or hints at any allegations of criminal or terrorist behavior.

Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark attends the 2011 Emery Awards at Cipriani, Wall Street on November 10, 2011 in New York, City.   (Getty Images)
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The police department goes where there are allegations. That's what you'd expect them to do. That's what you'd want them to do. Remind yourself when you turn out the light tonight. - Michael Bloomberg, defending police for spying on Muslim student groups

We're not trying to hide anything. We are out in the open. You want to come in? We have an open door policy. - Abdul A. Muhammad, imam of the Masjid Ali Muslim mosque in Newark

This doesn't say, 'This guy did something wrong.' This says, 'Everyone here is a Muslim.' It makes you feel uncomfortable, like this is
not your country. - Nagiba el-Sioufi, an Egyptian immigrant and US citizen living in Newark

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