The events that occurred on September 11th, 2001 immediately and inevitably heightened skepticism of Muslims living in the United States. In New York City, arguably the epicenter of the 9/11 attacks, Islamophobia has been perpetuated by government organizations striving to prevent another display of religious extremism from occurring.
Several AP articles exist detailing the NYPD’s covert operations throughout the past several years, which have included compiling “lists of mosques and Muslim businesses it saw as potential security threats for reasons that included endorsing conservative views or having devout customers.” In response to these tactics, a lawsuit was filed by the targets of these investigations, under representation by the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the City University of New York’s CLEAR Project, under allegations that the NYPD’s spying methods are unconstitutional.
According to the Huffington Post, “a federal judge ruled on Friday that targets of the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims can probe the department’s files.” This is the first clear victory on behalf of the victims involved in the case, who now have the right to discover how they had been investigated by the police department.
ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi explained that they were pleased with the judge’s decision, although it was only the beginning of a lengthier legal battle.
“We’re gratified that the judge rejected the NYPD’s defense that we should not obtain documents showing it acted with a discriminatory purpose. For the first time, the NYPD will have to produce key records about its Muslim surveillance program, and answer questions about its biased policies and practices,” Shamsi said.
The plaintiffs in the case include "three Muslim individuals, two mosques, and a non-profit Mulsim organization," according to court records.