PATERSON, NJ - A 2006 report by the New York Police Department says its officers videotaped and photographed worshipers at the Masjid Omar Mosque on Getty Avenue as part of its controversial surveillance of Muslims in the metropolitan area.
New York police also recorded license plate numbers of people who attended Friday prayers at the mosque, paying special attention to New York state vehicles, the report said. The mosque also was believed to have been the target of federal investigators, said the report, which included aerial photographs of the mosque.
The NYPD's surveillance of mosques in the region, exposed by The Associated Press, has prompted complaints about whether people's civil rights were violated and federal and state officials have issued calls for investigations. The NYPD's work in New Jersey also has raised concerns about whether local enforcement officials were notified about officers from outside jurisdictions working in their communities.
"All of my experience with the New York City Police Department as a member of the House Homeland Security Committee has been good,'' said Rep. Bill Pascrell in a press release. "But there’s no reason for the NYPD to be engaging in a surveillance operation in New Jersey without first communicating with the U.S. attorney, the State Police and local law enforcement agencies," said Pascrell. "We must focus on behavioral profiling rather ethnic or religious profiling. That is, a person’s actions should be the only thing to attract the attention of law enforcement, not a person’s ethnicity or religion."