NEW YORK  - Authorities in New Jersey said Thursday they are looking into complaints that New York police have extended their controversial surveillance of Muslim communities into the neighbouring state.

“The matter is under review,” said Leland Moore, at the New Jersey attorney general’s office, refusing further comment.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday requested a probe into reports by the Associated Press news agency that the New York Police Department had been conducting secret surveillance on Muslims in Newark, New Jersey and elsewhere in the New England region. According to the reports, NYPD officers have kept tabs on Muslim students, mosque goers and others throughout the area, including at the prestigious Yale University in Connecticut. “The NYPD surveilled mosques and businesses in Muslim and ethnic communities in Newark and on Long Island, and monitored college students in Pennsylvania and Connecticut,” the ACLU said, referring to the reports.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called reports of surveillance in his state “disturbing.”

Earlier this week, Yale President Richard Levin condemned the reported police action, saying that “surveillance based on religion, nationality or peacefully expressed political opinions are antithetical to the values of Yale, the academic community and the United States.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg strongly backed the NYPD, which since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre has devoted large resources to counter-terrorism in America’s biggest city.

“I don’t know why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale,” Bloomberg said in response to Levin’s complaint.