Anti-Muslim Film Leads to Calls for Ouster of NYC's Top Cop and Independent Monitor of NYPD

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The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition called on New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne to resign Thursday because of  a lack of confidence in their ability to lead the city's police department, given the high-raking officers' conflicting and untruthful statements about the NYPD's involvement in and use of an anti-Muslim propaganda film.

Police documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the New York Police Department showed an anti-Muslim training video to nearly 1,500 police officers for a period of months in 2010, the New York Times reported Monday.

The video, called “The Third Jihad,” depicts Muslims being at war with the West, shooting Christians in the head, along with slain children and exploding bombs and a narrator saying that Muslims plan to infiltrate and dominate America. In addition, a portion of the film shows a manipulated image of an Islamic flag flying over the White House.

When the news broke, the New York Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) called on the NYPD to offer plans to counter the biased information. The group also called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to meet with Muslim community leaders and civil liberties groups to discuss anti-Muslim bias in the department.

By Tuesday, news outlets were reporting that Bloomberg had called the decision to show the videos “terrible judgment.” And Kelly, who was interviewed for the video, apologized for participating. He initially denied involvement in the film. And Browne initially denied that Kelly was interviewed for the film and that clips of him talking were used without consent. But when presented with evidence of emailed communication between Browne and the film's producer, Browne admitted that he actually recommended that Kelly be interviewed for the film. 

The NYPD has been under fire after revelations of its joint spying operation with the CIA, which involved ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim and Arab communities following 9/11.

And the NYPD continues to focus its stop-and-frisk policies on Black and Latino men. In 2010, about 90 percent of the more than 600,000 people frisked were Black and Latino.

Bloomberg, who early in the week called the decision to use the film, "terrible judgement" stood by Kelly and Browne on Thursday.

In addition to calling for resignations of Kelly and Browne, the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition is calling for a thorough investigation to determine who decided to use the video for training and the creation of an independent community-controlled mechanism to monitor NYPD policies and practices.  

 

--Keith Rushing