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Critics claim incumbent flip-flopping on cops watching mosques

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State Sen. Marty Golden is all for spying on mosques — except when he’s not.

The lawmaker declared his opposition to the surveillance of mosques in front of a mostly Middle Eastern audience at a candidate forum last week — a year almost to the day after applauding Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s counter-terrorism efforts, including planting informants inside houses of worship.

“The police should not be spying on churches, mosques, or synagogues,” said the five-term incumbent during the Oct. 13 assembly at PS 170 hosted by the Arab-American Association of New York.

Golden (R–Bay Ridge), a retired New York City police officer who is endorsed by three different police unions, said Kelly should apologize to Muslim New Yorkers if proof arose that he authorized the scrutiny, although he was quick to say he didn’t know of an instance where that had occurred.

Yet last October, Golden co-signed a letter that Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Borough Park) and several other pols fired off to Kelly lauding the police department’s vigilance on terror-related matters.

“Although many of the reports have been critical of the NYPD’s tactics, we write to you today to applaud you and the NYPD for using all means at your disposal to prevent another terrorist attack like 9-11,” the letter stated. “We are safer because of the carefully-conceived and well-placed infrastructure of cameras and counter-terrorism officers located throughout the city.”

Golden left after making his comments, but his Democratic opponent Andrew Gounardes pounced on them when it was his turn to speak, accusing the veteran politician of flip-flopping.

“If the senator has changed his position, I applaud him,” said Gounardes, who says he is against the surveillance of mosques.

Golden’s camp rejected Gounardes’s claims, and said that Golden supported NYPD’s efforts, if there was just cause.

“Our opponent’s claim that we are changing our position is just plain fantasy,” said campaign manager Jeffrey Kraus. “If that probable cause leads them to a house of worship, then they have a responsibility to protect Americans.”

The letter, however, doesn’t mention probable cause — a legal standard for justifying police searches and seizures — and doesn’t ask police to refrain from monitoring any establishment.

“We encourage you to investigate any church, synagogue, or business, which may pose a threat to the safety and well-being of our society,” the document continues. “Nothing should deter or discourage you in your quest to eradicate terrorism.”

Aramica Arabic newspaper publisher Antoine Faisal, who attended the forum, said he was appalled at what he viewed as Golden talking out of both sides of his mouth.

“I was extremely dismayed by his arrogance and lack of honesty to the community,” he said.

But Golden chief-of-staff Jerry Kassar came to the senator’s defense in his weekly “Common Sense” column in the Home Reporter newspaper, declaring that the Hikind-Golden letter in no way endorsed spying on mosques.

“The letter said nothing of the sort,” Kassar wrote, though he didn’t include any quotes from the document or explain what he believed it really said.

Kassar did not respond to requests for comment.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

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Reader Feedback

Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Old Marty is a bigot, misogynist, and homophobe. He should not hold public office in the State of New York.

Alabama? Maybe.
Oct. 24, 2012, 2 pm
Sunsetter from from Bay Ridge says:
He'd be voted out of office if he DIDN'T support spying on mosques! What kind of world do you think we live in? The kind that ignores threats and doesn't hedge its bets that members of a certain community may prove dangerous to people's welfare?

It was OK to infiltrate Italian communities to spy on the mafia, it was OK to spy on Hispanic communities to infiltrate gangs, it was OK to spy on Black communities to infiltrate drug dealers, et al. but somehow those who've repeatedly threatened the USA are supposed to be exempt from spying!?!
Oct. 24, 2012, 2:22 pm
Ralph from Bay Ridge says:
Sunsetter -

it was never okay to spy on any of those groups, because it almost never leads to actionable intelligence. 'those who threaten us' are extremists of all stripes. theyre everywhere. either you let them put a camera in your house, car, etc or we have to draw lines. private property is where the line is drawn if there isnt a warrant. pretty simple. marty lied to the people who hate muslims and to the muslims themselves. hes gotta go.
Oct. 24, 2012, 3:14 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Marty, seen your gun lately?
Oct. 24, 2012, 5:18 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Lets see, many terrorist plots have been hatched in NYC mosques, not to mention terrorist financing secured. Remember the Muslim terrorist who shot up a van full of Hasidic kids on the ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge? He did so after listening to a rabid " kill the Jews" sermon right here in the Bay Ridge Islamic Center. And those three aspiring Mujahadeen who planned to blow up three subway stations? Their scheme was hatched at the Islamic book store and relligious study center on 4th Avenue, right near the mosque on 5th. I could name more plots, but you get the point. If you want to catch Islamic terrorists you need to monitor mosques, among other places. NYC is not under threat from Mennonites, Mormans, Catholics, Hindus, Jews, etc. We are threatened by Muslim terrorists, and they find their ideological and religious home in mosques.

Golden should have had the balls to tell the truth and say that he is in favor of putting agents in mosques.
Oct. 24, 2012, 9:27 pm
Patty from Cake says:
How is this spying when they hate America?!?!
Oct. 25, 2012, 7:37 am
Sharon from Perfect Heights says:
Spying is not really an option because if you stare at them too long you'll go blind. Though, using cameras to see them means at least that you don't have to deal with the smell.
Oct. 26, 2012, 4:06 am
Ralph says:
if youre cool with them spying on mosques, then i hope youre cool with them spying on catholic churches to ensure more children arent abused. muslims do not equal terrorists and catholics do not equal child abusers. there are problems unique to those communities but they dont warrant spying without a warrant.

you cant be for law and order and for breaking the law at the same time, folks
Oct. 26, 2012, 10:16 am
Sam from Fort Hamilton says:
I don't know Ralph, Marty somehow manages to support both at the same time.
Oct. 26, 2012, 10:36 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Ralph, I would absolutely support undercover NYPD efforts to catch child molesters in Catholic schools. In public schools, Boy Scout troops and Yeshivas also. The NYPD should go where they have good reason to believe the criminals are gathering, and where they find support. "Religion" should never be permitted to serve as a cover for criminality. The fact is that Islam is inextricably linked to violent Jihad. Violent Jihadists are an age old tradition in Islam, and they find support and encouragement in far too many Mosques. The NYPD program is essential to preserving our safety in NYC.
Oct. 26, 2012, 10:48 pm
Ralph says:
You'd better think twice John - do you really want to see a middle aged priest spraying his squooge all over a 12 year old boy's face?
If you do, you sicken me. Catholic trash!
Oct. 28, 2012, 7:13 am
Ralph says:
You'd better think twice John - do you really want to see a middle aged priest spraying his squooge all over a 12 year old boy's face?
If you do, you sicken me. Catholic trash!
Oct. 28, 2012, 7:13 am
Peter from Bay Ridge says:
The NYPD should absolutely spy on mosques. The greatest threat to National Security are extremists that use theological doctrine to support their violent jihads. Catholic priests don't use theology to justify their actions and claiming child molesters are a threat to National Security is absurd.
Nov. 1, 2012, 5:29 pm
Peter from Bay Ridge says:
@John Ralph keeps trying to push Judea-christian values into this argument. He forgets or is unaware his moral values, of right and wrong, and the US constitution simply do not govern all faucets of Islam or supersede Islamic law. That doesn't mean Muslims aren't or shouldn't be protected by our Constitution but dismissing or not acknowledging that terrorists attacks are cultivated from Islamic theology is blindingly arrogant.
Nov. 1, 2012, 6:01 pm

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