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Written by Don Byrd

A new lawsuit was filed challenging surveillance of Muslim communities by the New York Police Department. The ACLU charges the program amounts to unconstitutional religious profiling that “imposed an unwarranted badge of suspicion and stigma on law-abiding Muslim New Yorkers.”

From the ACLU press release:

The NYPD’s spying activities are rooted in prejudice, and have spread fear throughout Muslim communities. As a result of unlawful NYPD spying, our clients’ religious goals, missions, and practices have been profoundly harmed. The discriminatory surveillance program has forced religious leaders to censor what they say to their congregants, limit their religious counseling, and record their sermons, for fear that their statements could be taken out of context by police officers or informants. Knowledge and justifiable fear of NYPD surveillance have diminished attendance at mosques, prompted distrust of newcomers out of concern they are NYPD informants, and prevented the mosques from fulfilling their mission of serving as religious sanctuaries. 

An earlier lawsuit was filed a year ago in federal court in New Jersey. For their part, police officials claim to have ended the practice, and that it was necessary at the time it was in place. You can read the new complaint here.