Asad Danida, left, is a 20-year-old college sophomore living in Brooklyn. Imam Hamid Hassan Raza, right, is the spiritual leader at Masjid Al-Ansar, a mosque in Brooklyn. Both are plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit against the city. Credit: NYCLU
Despite a federal judge's ruling last week to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the NYPD's Muslim surveillance program in New Jersey, a second case in Brooklyn continues.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge William Martini ruled the NYPD's controversial surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey was a constitutional program, and that the plaintiffs were not targeted solely based on their religion.
"The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself," Martini wrote in his decision.
However, critics of the police department's intelligence unit are still hopeful the New Jersey case won't affect the outcome of a second lawsuit in New York.
The Associated Press reported that an attorney for the plaintiffs hoped the new de Blasio administration "will look with a fresh eye at policies and practices that stigmatize New Yorkers on the basis of their religion and cause harm to their personal and professional lives and religious practices."
The New York City case, Raza v. City of New York, was filed in June by three religious leaders, two mosques and one local charity.
While former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his police Commissioner Ray Kelly were staunch defenders of the surveillance program as constitutional counterterrorism efforts, Mayor Bill de Blasio levied soft criticism against the investigation unit's tactics during last year's campaign.
"I have spoken out clearly and said we need to do a full review of all surveillance efforts, and anything that is not based on specific leads should not continue," de Blasio told WNYC last September.