NJ’s attorney general visits mosque as part of outreach after NYPD surveillance flap

NEWARK, N.J. — New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa quietly visited a Newark mosque Friday that had been listed in a secret report by the New York Police Department, and he reassured worshippers that New Jersey officials do not believe certain groups of citizens have lesser rights than others.

Chiesa attended prayer services at Masjid Ibrahim, a modest, single-story mosque set up inside a ramshackle former commercial space in Newark. The mosque was among several in the report by the NYPD, which conducted surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey and elsewhere.

“It is not tolerable here in New Jersey for us to have people treated differently in this state — period,” Chiesa said.

The attorney general’s visit was part of an ongoing effort by his office to repair relations between Muslims and New Jersey law enforcement after The Associated Press uncovered the NYPD spying. The NYPD has said its actions were legal and it has the right to travel to other cities in carrying out its duties.

Chiesa has said that New York police now meet regularly with New Jersey law enforcement to discuss counterterrorism intelligence and operations. He has also issued a directive requiring New Jersey law enforcement agencies to notify the New Jersey State Police Counter-Terrorism Bureau and the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness if they hear of outside departments working in New Jersey. Assemblyman Charles Mainor also has introduced legislation that would give such guidelines the weight of law.