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May 22, 2019

New York’s highest court rejects latest effort to have NYPD turn over records of possible Islamic surveillance

June 27, 2018
Harlem Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, seen here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is one of two men who sought release of the records. (Bryan Pace for New York Daily News)

New York’s highest court rejected Tuesday a last-ditch effort to have the NYPD turn over any records it might have about the surveillance of Islamic organizations.

Without comment, the Court of Appeals denied a request from Harlem Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid and Rutgers University student Samir Hashmi seeking to re-argue their case against the NYPD. The high court rarely grants such motions.

Abdur-Rashid and Hashmi believed the NYPD monitored them as part of a broad campaign of spying on Islamic organizations, and they sought records from the department detailing its activities.

In March, the Court of Appeals sided with NYPD, ruling in a 4-to-3 decision that to even acknowledge the existence of such records could jeopardize the department’s anti-terrorism activities and endanger the public.

“In fact, the need for government confidentiality may be at its zenith when a law enforcement agency is undertaking a covert investigation of individuals or organizations, where the lives of the public, cooperators and undercover officers may hang precariously in the balance,” Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote for the majority.

Omar Mohammedi, the attorney for Abdur-Rashid and Hashmi, did not immediately comment on the decision.

In addition to denying the motion, the court also ordered the two men to pay $100 in costs plus “necessary reproduction disbursements” to the NYPD.

Rutgers University student Samir Hashmi also sought records from the NYPD.
Rutgers University student Samir Hashmi also sought records from the NYPD. (

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