New York Attorney General warns hate group to stop spying on Muslims

New York Attorney General warns hate group to stop spying on Muslims
New York Attorney General Leticia James has sent letters to an anti-Muslim hate group and to the Department of Justice regarding possible unlawful spying on Muslim communities.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
05 April, 2022
Mosques and Muslim organisations have long been targets of unlawful spying by hate groups. (Getty)

New York Attorney General Letitia James has sent a cease-and-desist notification to Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) on Sunday, demanding that they stop unlawful and discriminatory surveillance of Muslims in New York.  

She also sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting an immediate investigation into any possible legal violations by the group.

"As we enter the holy month of Ramadan, it's more important than ever that we show our support for our Muslim communities and stand up to Islamophobia and hate of any and every kind," said Attorney General James, according to a press release issued earlier this month by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"Let me be clear: We will not bow to hate, we will not enable bias, and we will not empower Islamophobia. I urge DOJ to stand with us and use its considerable power to protect Muslim communities throughout New York and across the nation. Our constitution protects the rights of all communities to live without harassment or intimidation; we will remain vigilant in the protection of these rights."

On his part, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said, "We applaud Attorney General James' efforts to defend the civil rights of American Muslims from hate groups like IPT, and we join her in encouraging the Justice Department to do the same." 

"From Malcolm X to the NYPD spying scandal to IPT's spying on Park51, New York has been one of the key states where bad actors have attempted to infiltrate and harm the Muslim American community. It is long past time for this misconduct to end," Awad added. 

The attorney general's statements were promoted by recent revelations of spying within CAIR, in which a high-level staff member infiltrated the organisation to gather information for IPT.