Members of the Muslim community are pursuing legal action against the NYPD for its surveillance of students, business owners, and other citizens belonging to the religion. As of Wednesday (June 6) the New Jersey chapter of the Muslim Advocates became the first group of its kind to file a suit against the department for practices which NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly deemed as “critically important.”
Farhana Khera, president of the Muslim Advocates, explained the reasoning behind the lawsuit in a press conference, and accompanying editorial post on CNN.com. “This lawsuit is about the pervasive and discriminatory policies and practices that Commissioner Ray Kelly and his leadership team have put into motion and that need to stop. Standing up to the largest police department in the country takes courage, and these brave individuals have done so in order to protect America’s future,” he said.
“The plaintiffs in this lawsuit include college students, a military serviceman who has put his life on the front lines in Iraq and a small-business owner who is also a Vietnam veteran. They are ordinary Americans just trying to live a normal life, raising their families and supporting their country. These plaintiffs are parents, students, business leaders and service members who enrich our communities. Their only ‘crime’ is that they are Muslim in America.”
Despite the uproar, the NYPD—which has also come under fire for their discriminatory “stop-and-frisk” policy— is sticking to their guns. The department’s lead spokesperson, Paul Browne, responded to Khera’s claims by stating that their actions against Muslims were “appropriate” and fall in line with their efforts to “prevent terrorists from returning here to kill more New Yorkers.”
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