For the past year or so, the NYPD has been forced to very publicly defend a program it once denied existed at all: the surveillance of Muslims, which has allegedly targeted student groups, mosques, religious leaders, and ordinary people. The city and the NYPD are being sued in three separate lawsuits for that surveillance; the most recent suit, Raza v. City of New York , was filed in June by the ACLU; the lead plaintiff, Hamid Hassan Raza, is the imam at Masjid Al-Ansar, a Brooklyn mosque that the ACLU says the NYPD has been spying on since at least 2008.
Image via ACLU. Hamid Hassan Raza, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The city and the NYPD don't deny they were investigating Raza and the other plaintiffs: Asad "Ace" Dandia, a Muslim student leader; Masjid-At-Taqwa, another mosque; a charity called Muslims Giving Back; and Mohammad Elshinawy, who gives classes and lectures about Islam. But they say their actions were the result of legitimate concerns about potential criminal behavior and terrorism, not anti-Muslim bias.More »