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NYPD Muslim Spying: New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa Visits Mosque Listed In Secret Report

Jeffrey Chiesa

Jeffrey Chiesa

NYPD Muslim Spying: New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa Visits Mosque Listed In Secret Report

By SAMANTHA HENRY

NEWARK, N.J. — New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa quietly visited a Newark mosque Friday that had been listed in a secret report by the New York Police Department, and he reassured worshippers that New Jersey officials do not believe certain groups of citizens have lesser rights than others.

Chiesa attended prayer services at Masjid Ibrahim, a modest, single-story mosque set up inside a ramshackle former commercial space in Newark. The mosque was among several in the report by the NYPD, which conducted surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey and elsewhere.

“It is not tolerable here in New Jersey for us to have people treated differently in this state – period,” Chiesa said.

The attorney general’s visit was part of an ongoing effort by his office to repair relations between Muslims and New Jersey law enforcement after The Associated Press uncovered the NYPD spying. The NYPD has said its actions were legal and it has the right to travel to other cities in carrying out its duties.

Explaining to mosque-goers that he had only been in office about a month when the NYPD spying came to light, Chiesa said he was there to listen and answer questions from the community. He said he understood how badly he and his family would feel if they had been subjected to spying at their church or made to feel they could not freely practice their religion.

The mosque’s imam, Mustafa El-Amin, is a member of the Muslim outreach committee formed by Chiesa’s office in the wake of the NYPD revelations. He has gained a following for oratory that translates the teachings of the Quran into modern-day parables, relevant to his largely poor and working-class African-American congregants.

El-Amin’s sermon on Friday was somewhat tailored to his visitors. He emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and explained the significance of Friday prayers.

“It’s not a conspiracy session. It’s not a session where we plot anything bad,” El-Amin said of Friday prayers. “All are welcome. Our doors are always open. We have nothing to hide.”

Chiesa conducted a fact-finding review in the wake of the spying scandal, and concluded the NYPD had not violated any New Jersey laws. The findings angered many New Jersey Muslims, who felt they had no state recourse to end the spying. Eight Muslims filed a federal lawsuit in New Jersey against the NYPD in June.

Chiesa has said that New York police now meet regularly with New Jersey law enforcement to discuss counterterrorism intelligence and operations. He has also issued a directive requiring New Jersey law enforcement agencies to notify the New Jersey State Police Counter-Terrorism Bureau and the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness if they hear of outside departments working in New Jersey. Assemblyman Charles Mainor also has introduced legislation that would give such guidelines the weight of law.

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  • Sarah Brown

    http://hurryupharry.org/2012/12/04/the-problem-with-criticising-islam/

    Off topic – so I absolve moderators in advance if they don’t publish – but I have just posted briefly on an interesting youtube video and thought Loonwatchers might like to drop by and join in the debate.

  • mindy1

    I hope that relations can be repaired-the best way of preventing terror attacks, is to make sure that EVERYONE is part of the community, so that no one will want to harm the community that they are part of.

  • Xithurel

    @Matt

    Flawed logic beyond belief.

    Being peaceful and having ZERO history of being anything but – does not imply that mosque isn’t peaceful.

    Ever heard of standing tall in the face of persecution? That’s what this man was doing.

    It’s what the Jews were constantly doing in the ghettos – while they were being slated to be executed.

    Name one instance where that mosque in particular was used for a drug cartel, a gang, a shoot out, haven for child abusing priests, money laundering. Where in that Mosques entire history has there EVER been reason to investigate it?

    It’s the house of worship for Muslims – that’s it.

    Yet how many Churches are being monitored? Even though we both know Churches in the USA in particular are rampant with political agendas, white supreme meetings, abuse of children, pedophilia, and money laundering.

    Yet here you are yet again desperately trying to find something ANYTHING to make Muslims look like Christians in America. When history itself proves beyond any doubt that Churches and Christians have had nothing but a history of domestic terrorism – even black churches weren’t sparred being burnt to the ground.

  • Garibaldi

    @Matt,

    Have you been living under a rock? The NYPD didn’t find any problem with the mosque, they were blindly profiling the Muslim community. That’s a fact.

    You seem to have inordinate amount of blind faith and trust in the legal apparatus and police institutions. Clearly, you think they are incapable of flagrant violations of civil liberties and rights.

    So now you are also making up rules about peace? Maybe they have to remind people they are “peaceful” (which I agree they shouldn’t have to) because you had the NYPD vilifying an entire community and spreading Islamophobia. That happens when you have Third Jihad playing on an endless loop at city police stations.

  • Garibaldi

    @Corey,

    Thanks for the tip. The religious right is becoming more cultish by the day. I am glad RightWingWatch is keeping tabs on this a-hole, looks like we should create a static page that is constantly updated with their loony antics as well as the groups, such as Morning Star Ministries that associate with the likes of Saleem

  • corey

    hey loonwatch remember that shadow government bullcrap that kamal saleem ranted about yeah here is more of that http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/saleem-gays-liberals-unholy-alliance-islamic-shadow-government I can only shake my head at how people can take this guy seriously especially when his stories have been debunked so many times.

  • Matt

    Isn’t this story incomplete? Why did the NYPD find a problem at this mosque? What happened?

    “El-Amin’s sermon on Friday was somewhat tailored to his visitors. He emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and explained the significance of Friday prayers.”

    Apparently, peace loving Muslims were minding their own business and thinking about nothing but peace, then the big, bad NYPD came along causing trouble.

    Here is the first rule of peace: If you have to remind people that you are all about peace, then you are not all about peace.

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