Updated 05/24/2012 06:24 PM
Officials: NYPD Muslim Surveillance Efforts Did Not Violate NJ Laws
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Top officials in New Jersey announced Thursday the New York City Police Department's Muslim surveillance efforts did not violate any state laws.
Governor Chris Christie's administration has concluded the department did not violate New Jersey laws when they conducted surveillance of Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups in the state.
The announcement came as N.J. Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and his office held several meetings through the state private meeting Thursday at his office in Trenton with Muslim leaders to discuss the results of the three-month-long investigation.
An investigation by the Associated Press revealed the NYPD has been infiltrating student groups and watching mosque-goers across the Northeast for several years, even when there was no evidence of a crime.
Muslim groups have been outraged over the program, accusing law enforcement of spying on them.
Following the Thursday meetings, Muslim leaders told reporters they received little new information from New Jersey authorities.
"We have children, we have daughters, we have sons and what has not been told to us is to what extent did this surveillance go to watching my son, my daughter, my children? Were my phones tapped?" said Imam Mustafa el-Amin of Masjid Ibrahim Mosque in Newark. "And what was not answered could not have been answered, is it still going on? And they said they could not tell us that."
"We came here with the expectation that we would at least get some update, what the investigations are and at the same time what are the plans to move forward?" said Imam W. Deen Shareef of the Council of Imams. "Unfortunately what we're hearing is not much different from what we heard in March."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have repeatedly defended the program as legal and justified, saying proactive efforts have stopped terrorists and do not break any laws.
Chiesa's office says it will strengthen its counter-terrorism communication with the NYPD, improve notification among New Jersey law enforcement agencies when outside law enforcement is conducting investigations within the state and establish an outreach committee to the Muslim community.
The Muslim leaders in New Jersey said they are looking forward to knowing more about the outreach and will continue to explore ways that they can put a stop to what they consider a violation of their civil liberties.