Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker is among those calling for an investigation into the New York Police Department following revelations that the department conducted surveillance of Muslims in his city.
A 60-page report uncovered by the Associated Press details the department’s practice of photographing every mosque and spying on every business owned by Muslims in 2007.
According to the AP, there was no mention of terrorism or criminal wrongdoing in the report. However, it still drew a strong reaction from Booker who said the investigation is contrary to his city’s beliefs.
“If anyone in my police department had known this was a blanket investigation of individuals based on nothing but their religion, that strikes at the core of our beliefs and my beliefs very personally, and it would have merited a far sterner response,” Booker told the AP.
Former Newark Police Director and current Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that Newark police had nothing to do with this.
“The bottom line is that the NYPD reached out to us as a courtesy when they were coming into Newark,” he told the AP. “We did not conduct surveillance or gather intelligence with the NYPD.”
The New Jersey branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has responded to the controversy as well, saying actions taken by the NYPD are wrong.
“These actions represent a violation of the public trust and raise red flags about religious discrimination and targeting by law enforcement,” ACLU-NJ executive director Deborah Jacobs told The Newark Star-Ledger.
Muslims in Newark were saddened but not necessarily shocked by the news. Abu Muhmad, an administrator at the city’s Masjid Rahmah mosque, claimed that FBI agents have been coming to his mosque for years.
“We know for a fact agents are out there listening to what is being said at prayers,” he told the Star-Ledger.