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NYPD And Muslims: A Relationship Turned Sour

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

It will not take long for the growing mistrust between police and the muslim community to cross the Hudson River to New Jersey.

Activists in New York are discouraging Muslims in the city from going directly to police with concerns about terrorism, a campaign that is certain to further strain relations between the two groups. This comes after a decade of the police spying on the daily lives of Muslims, often with the help of the CIA.

New Jersey and New York will forever be entwined in the fight against terrorism. The first terror attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 had ties to a Muslim Cleric living in Jersey City. The airline suicide bombers in the 2001 9-11 attacks had New Jersey drivers’ licenses, lived here, and hijacked a plane from Newark Airport.

In New York, relations between police and the muslim community have never been worse. It’s a cycle that wont easily be broken: The New York City Police Department spies on Muslims, which makes them less likely to trust police. That reinforces the belief that the community is secretive and insular.

In New Jersey, relations may not exactly be friendly, but they are cordial. Outreach to the muslim community by police and homeland security officials has been vital to stopping future attacks. NYC officials could learn a few things from NJ’s approach. New Jersey has never denied surveillance, but neither have they touted it. At the same time, officials have worked to address the concerns of the muslim community, while encouraging cooperation.

New York is trying an 11th hour outreach, but it likely comes far too late to heal the wounds. Unfortunately, this growing mistrust may undermine the fine efforts of New Jersey’s law enforcers and ultimately endanger both states.

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