PATERSON - A six-year undercover NYPD surveillance operation aimed at Muslims, including those here in New Jersey, apparently did not generate a single lead or spark a single terrorism investigation. The admission comes in sworn testimony from a top NYPD official that was just unsealed today.
As News 12 New Jersey has been reporting for months, the targets of the surveillance included Muslim-owned businesses, mosques, and even Muslim student organizations at Rutgers.
In Paterson, where surveillance had been high, some residents feel vindicated. "Our community is very very glad to hear this, that we are free of any accusations, any wrongdoing," says Ken Abuassab, a leader in the Arab American Civic Organization.
Others did not seem as quick to forgive. "It's discrimination, that's our feeling," Paterson resident Mahmud Melhees says.
Ahmed Awawdeh, of Paterson, says he actually would like to see surveillance continue, but would like to see it done differently in the future, adding: "It's good for them to keep their on eye on everything. Everything, I said, not just one community or one thing or certain people.