Update: Senator Menendez Responds
February 24, 2012
Honorable Bob Menendez
One Gateway Center, Suite 1100
Newark, New Jersey, 07102
Re: The NYPD espionage activities against innocent American Muslim citizens
Dear Senator Menendez:
Thank you for your principled and unequivocal position against the violation of the civil and religious rights of American citizens. You have a splendid record of defending the rights and freedoms of all Americans. We agree that the US Attorney General Mr. Eric Holder should order a full investigation of the NYPD and determine the extent of the violation of the civil and religious rights of law-abiding citizens.
The revelations about the widespread espionage activities by the NYPD must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It was a truly lousy police work chasing a mirage based on faulty notions that criminalize the faith of a large swath of peaceful and law-abiding citizens. Proper, legal and ultimately productive policy work should be based on proven techniques that track the behavior of potential criminals, not their faith or ethnicity.
Our community continues to endure the ugly manifestations of stereotyping and racial profiling which is contrary to our American ideals. Our community is pressing for a similar investigation of the matter by the NJ Attorney General. We want to know the extent of complicity or lack thereof of our state law enforcement agencies in enabling the illegal activities of the NYPD. While there is some consensus that NJ entities never collaborated or were never notified, we learned that a Newark police official did actually collaborate but never notified his superiors or the Mayor of Newark. Only a comprehensive and transparent investigation will remove all doubts and provide a teaching moment on how to deal with future instances of illegal and baseless spying invasion.
Our community’s sense of betrayal runs deep. Your stand renders possible our faith in America’s moral character and its resolve to do what is moral, legal and just.
I hope to hear from you soon. Good luck in your reelection campaign and know that you have friends in our community. Thank you again and I hope you will accept our humble invitation to revisit our home again. You will honor us.
Aref A. Assaf, PhD
President, American Arab Forum