Fed court reviewing whether NYPD broke laws in post 9/11 monitoring of Muslims

 A large crowd and media gathered outside of the Federal Courthouse in Philadelphia for today's hearing on NYPD conduct. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

A large crowd and media gathered outside of the Federal Courthouse in Philadelphia for today's hearing on NYPD conduct. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

 A federal appeals court appears concerned that the New York Police Department may have spied on Muslim groups solely because of their religion.

The three-judge panel in Philadelphia is reviewing a lawsuit that claims police conducted broad surveillance on Muslim businesses, mosques and schools in New Jersey.

A lower court judge had thrown out the lawsuit.

But the 3rd Circuit judges questioned Tuesday why the surveillance wasn’t targeted. And they said any drop in business or mosque attendance would amount to real harm.

The judges didn’t immediately rule.

The case drew an overflow crowd at the courthouse.

Rutgers University sophomore Taqi Khan says he was born in Pakistan but grew up in New Jersey and considers himself “American by heart.”

He calls the alleged surveillance of a Muslim student group “unfair.”

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