Holder concerned about NYPD spying on New Jersey residents
Archbishop Myer speaks out in defense of religious freedom.
On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder told congress that he was disturbed by reading about the New York Police Department's (NYPD) surveillance of mosques and Islamic student organization in neighboring New Jersey.
The best police force in the world is accused of spying on New Jersey Muslims.
The NYPD conducted the operations in both New York and New Jersey, bringing criticism that the department was damaging relations with the Muslim American community and weakening national security.
The remarks were made during a hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee and followed questions about how one state agency could spy on another state's residents without first notifying authorities. Neither New jersey Governor Chris Christie nor Newark Mayor Cory Booker were aware of the operations.
Holder answered that question by saying "I don't know."
Holder did not clarify if it was the tactics themselves targeting Muslims, or the fact that one state agency crossed state lines unannounced to conduct them, that disturbed him.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the NYPD on Thursday saying "We have the best police department in the world, and I think they show that every single day, and we have stopped 14 attacks since 9/11, fortunately without anybody dying."
Despite the controversial tactics one thing is clear - New York, although frequently targeted, has remained safe from terrorist attacks.
The NYPD insists its tactics are legal, and although civil rights lawyers are at odds over this matter, most of the questions regarding the program are matters of policy, not law.
In New Jersey however, people are upset. The Roman Catholic archdiocese in Newark recently joined New Jersey Muslims in condemning the surveillance and demanding that state authorities protect all people from being spied on just because of their religion.
Archbishop john J. Myers said, "Just as it is paramount for our people and institutions in authority to secure our safety, it is equally paramount for people and institutions in authority in our free society to protect and secure every one of our basic liberties, especially our liberty to express our faith," To do otherwise is to invite fear, hatred and oppression into our lives."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Eric Holder, NYPD, New Jersey, Archbishop Myer
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