Monday, February 24, 2014

Judge Rules Against Muslim Activist Groups in Favor of NYPD

On Thursday February 20th Federal Justice William J. Martini of the United States District Court in New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit brought by several Islamic activist organizations, including the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Foundation, against the New York City Police Department.  The plaintiffs accused the NYPD of violating their civil rights through a program which including surveillance and intelligence gathering of the Muslim community in New Jersey.
The groups along with several individuals stated that the actions had
"caused a series of spiritual, stigmatic, and pecuniary losses."
to them both as individuals and collectively.  They also stated that because of the actions of the NYPD they could no longer pray in public or speak in public regarding religion or politics.  They accused the NYPD of singling them out solely on the basis of their religion.  The judge found otherwise.
The NYPD surveillance and intelligence gathering program was one of the department's counter terrorism programs.  It began in early 2002, after the attacks of 9-11 by Islamic terrorists, and with the appointment of David Cohen, former Deputy Director of the CIA, as the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence for NYPD.

The specifics of the program were brought to the public to the public's attention in the Summer of 2011 when two reporters of the Associated Press wrote an article regarding the NYPD's counter terrorism program.  The reporters had obtained un-redacted and confidential documents from several former and current NYPD employees that outlined a program designed to see if their was any terrorist activity within the Muslim community in the greater New York City region including New Jersey.  The article failed to articulate that two major terrorist attacks against the United States and New York City specifically were perpetrated by radical Islamists who had ties to the Muslim Community in the geographical area in question.

The Court in this case did understand the logic of the NYPD intelligence program by saying;
"The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself." 
In ruling in favor the NYPD Justice Martini also stated that there was no injury suffered by the plaintiffs by the actions of the NYPD.  He went on to say that even if they had suffered an injury it would have been caused not by the actions of the Police Department but in fact by the actions of the Associated Press reporters.   He stated that the reporters had
"released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents." 
That was stunning.  One could only wonder if the reporters in question would have to return the Pulitzer Prize awarded them for their inaccurate and harmful piece of journalism.
As expected the Muslim activists groups' response to the verdict was predictable.
They decried the ruling as a miscarriage of justice and vowed to appeal.
However in this case the scales of justice have tipped in favor of sound reason and logic when it comes to combating terrorism.

Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections. He is the author of "The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism's Prison Connection," details of which can be found at his website, and he can be contacted at: Mr Dunleavy is currently a consultant for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He  teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School, "Dynamics of International Terrorism"  and has testified as an expert witness before the House Committee on Homeland Security regarding the threat of Islamic Radicalization in the U.S. Prison System.

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