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N.J. Legislative Committee Advances Regulation After NYPD Surveillance On Muslims

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- After the NYPD conducted surveillance on Muslims in New Jersey, a state legislative committee decided to advance a bill that would require out-of-state law enforcement to notify state officials before such an operation.

New Jersey Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Jersey City), the sponsor of the bill, said it was prompted by revelations that the NYPD had conducted secret operations in New Jersey neighborhoods where Muslim lived and worked. The NYPD also spied on Muslim organizations, infiltrated Muslim student groups and videotaped mosque-goers.

Abdul Kareem Muhammad, the imam of Newark's Masjid al-Haqq mosque, was listed in a secret NYPD intelligence report, as were Muslim schools, Muslim restaurants and Muslim-owned stores.

The activities, revealed in a series of articles by The Associated Press, angered many Muslims and New Jersey officials and resulted in a federal lawsuit against the NYPD.

"As a law enforcement officer, I can appreciate the importance of a surveillance operation, but not when conducted in secrecy and potentially in violation of the civil rights of our residents," said Mainor, who is also a Jersey City police detective.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly has vigorously defended the department's surveillance of Muslims as vital to the city's safety.

Following a three-month review, New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced in May that the NYPD had not violated any state laws in conducting the surveillance. However, he also reported that New York police had agreed to start meeting regularly with New Jersey law enforcement to discuss their counter terrorism operations. He has assured Muslim leaders that the NYPD unit that conducted the surveillance has ceased operations in New Jersey.

A spokesman for Chiesa said Monday that the attorney general's office was reviewing the bill.

The legislation, which advanced from the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, will next go to the full Assembly.

The bill requires that detailed notification of any planned surveillance operation by out-of-state law enforcement be provided to New Jersey's attorney general, the head of the state police and the chief law enforcement officer of the jurisdiction where the operation is to take place.

Do you support this effort to regulate surveillance operations? Leave your comments below...

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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