New York Muslims are pushing to postpone a court decision that would stop contentious New York Police Department surveillance policies implemented in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in the city. Members of the Muslim community hope that delaying the U.S. district court decision until after Ramadan, in mid-summer, would give them time to review the proposal and reach out to people who are traumatized by the invasive policies.
U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight seemed open to delaying his decision until the summertime, according to the Associated Press, and is interested in hearing more feedback from the community on whether they think the proposed agreement is fair. The changes to the police surveillance program stem from a 2013 lawsuit in which New York mosques, a charity and leaders in the community alleged that the NYPD was engaging in discriminatory tactics aimed at them.
The issue has been divisive in the roughly decade and a half since those attacks, and Muslims are frequently discussed to this day on the presidential campaign trail and by civil rights advocates. The American Civil Liberties Union calls the practice unconstitutional and notes in a fact sheet that the program swept up Muslim communities within New York City and also every mosque within 100 miles of the metropolis, including mosques in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey.
There are some who would like to see the program continued, however, and vigorously argue that surveillance based on the premise that Muslims are a potential terrorist danger is constitutional. That includes Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who argued in favor of the practice last month following the terrorist attacks in Belgium when bombs were detonated in the European capital’s airport and its underground subway system. Those attacks, carried out by individuals connected to the extremist Islamic State group in Syria, killed 32 people.