Statement on Settlement of NYC Muslim Surveillance Lawsuits
January 7, 2016, New York – Today, Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response to the settlement of Raza v. City of New York, a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the CLEAR Project at CUNY School of Law, and Handschu v. City of New York, a lawsuit filed by NYCLU, both of which challenge the NYPD’s discriminatory surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers. Muslim Advocates and CCR are currently litigating a similar, ongoing challenge against the de Blasio administration on behalf of Muslims in New Jersey who were also subject to suscipionless spying by the NYPD.
We applaud the Raza plaintiffs and counsel for their hard work reaching a resolution that we hope will help protect the constitutional rights of Muslims in the tri-state area. This settlement is important in light of escalating anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes in the U.S., but at the same time we hope Mayor de Blasio will be more vocal about why the department was simply wrong to engage in religious profiling of the Muslim community in the first place. We hope he will also come to the right side of history in our case on behalf of Muslims in New Jersey who were similarly subject to blanket, suspicionless surveillance by the NYPD. As a historic court ruling in our case reminded the de Blasio administration in October, “We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II.” We must ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.
The New Jersey case, Hassan v. City of New York, is in the early stages of pre-trial litigation. The case was filed by Muslim Advocates in the District Court of New Jersey in 2012 and joined by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Gibbons, P.C. is co-counsel in the case.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization working on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. Through high impact lawsuits, policy advocacy, and community education, Muslim Advocates serves as a resource to empower communities and ensures that the American Muslim community is heard by the courts and leaders at the highest level of government. Visit Muslim Advocates at www.muslimadvocates.org and follow @muslimadvocates.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org. Follow @theCCR.