CIVIL LIBERTIES COALITION CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY FOR NYPD

MACLC_Final-07This MACLC archive contains many links to articles and documents and until it can be re-structured, it will require careful and patient reading to the end. That said, there are many important details here for anyone interested in surveillance policies and how the impacted community pushed back and continues to push back in defense of basic rights.

In response to New York Times and AP revelations concerning NYPD involvement in widespread Muslim community surveillance, as well as Islamophobic training, the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) has been active in demanding police accountability and an immediate change in policies.

On April 16, 2012 AP reporters Matt Apuzzo, Eileen Sullivan, Adam Goldman and Chris Hawley received the Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reporting of the scandalously widespread NYPD monitoring of American Muslims and MACLC congratulates them all. Their work continued, reporting in a  Washington Post article (August 20, 2012) that Court records show the Department has admitted that six years of NYPD spying on the community led to no leads in actual terror cases. Over the next years and months, other revelations have been reported, culminating in the publication of the reporters’ book Enemies Within on September 3, 2013. A trove of revelations can be found here.

Page One Advisory

Most recently, diverse Muslim leaders and community members were gratified that the De Blasio administration appears to be listening to their concerns, with a turn away from Stop and Frisk and (announced on April 15 2014) the Disbanding of the NYPD Demographics Unit which had earlier vacuumed up a great deal of slipshod intelligence about law abiding Muslim New Yorkers, and mapped locations and individuals of concern in such documents as Handschu_Exhibit7b_(StrategicPostureredacted)_2.4.13. Community Leaders acknowledged the work of MACLC both in public and private, though cautioning that questions remain unanswered; will surveillance continue in another form? What will happen with the data that has already been collected? Please see our MACLC Press Release here.

MACLC has been an active force in developing community response and support for police accountability, working in courts, City Council and media. MACLC members have done research and created reports detailing the negative impact of surveillance and other NYPD policies. At noon on March 11, 2013 at 1 Police Plaza there was a well-attended press conference launching a significant new report entitled: Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and Its Impact on American Muslims. This work has been researched and compiled by attorneys and researchers at CLEAR and AADELF in partnership with MACLC. The Press  Release and Press Advisory can be found to the left and also here; the report itself can also be found on the AALDEF website

Drawing attention to the negative impact to police policies, a related lawsuit was announced by a legal team with links to MACLC on June 18, 2013. The text of the lawsuit can be found here –news reports can be found at this link and images are at this link.

LEGISLATION AND SUCCESS
MACLC members have been calling for police department accountability and therefore were consulted in the June 13, 2012 introduction of a City Council “Community Safety Act” to create an NYPD Inspector General as well as build in accountability mechanisms regarding Stop & Frisk.  Please see our March 20 Press Statement on this and other important accountability bills. Mayor Bloomberg has been unwilling to rein in or reform the NYPD. Earlier, MACLC members had been disappointed that leading up to the October 10, 2012 City Council hearing on the legislation that Mayor Bloomberg saw fit to make rather ill-considered and misleading remarks. However, MACLC members testified at the hearing and supported the Brennan Center Proposals Regarding the Inspector General.  MACLC was glad that the New York Times agrees. Our position on an IG is explained in the MACLC Statement here.

We applaud the June 26, 2013 vote in the Council to support the Safe Communities Act Legislation. Despite baseless fear mongering by the Mayor and in the tabloids, and Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, the Council withstood pressure and voted to over-ride the Mayor’s veto in late August 2013. MACLC looks forward to further reforms under the next Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and a new Police Commissioner. Continuing to engage in public discussions, MACLC members participated in discussing Police-Community Relations in the Mayoral Talking Transitions Tent in mid-November 2013.

We are also glad to see growing and “substantial” public support for the Inspector General, as indicated by the April 11 Quinnipiac University poll. We also note that the CIA Inspector General itself has just indicated serious misgivings regarding CIA-NYPD ties.

press confmaclIn the absence of agreeing to meet MACLC or many of its coalition members, recent NYPD moves to establish an apparently acquiescent Muslim Advisory Council have been problematic and divisive– see the Arab American Association Letter from July 19 2012.  Please also see the Majlis Ash Shura Amir (Islamic Leadership Council Chair) Imam Talib Abdur Rashid’s recent (8/12) essay .

Community leaders were disappointed to note that, according to an August 28, 2013 AP article, the nonprofit social services organization Arab American Association (AANY) has also been under intensive surveillance as a “terrorist enterprise” and the NYPD even discussed how to install one of their informants on its board. See the AP video and the CBS video. In response, AANY President Ahmad Jabar resigned his position on NYPD’s Advisory Board. Community leaders called on officials to undertake a full audit of NYPD intelligence activities and both current Comptroller Liu and candidate Stringer indicated they would move forward on this.

Over the last year, as more and more revelations came to light MACLC has joined  the Majlis and many other allies in deploring such other divisive and counter productive NYPD policies as widespread “Stop and Frisk” in communities of color and organized the recent March 27, 2013 press conference at Federal Court and joined the June 18, 2012 Silent March called by NAACP and other community groups. We also have written letters to President Obama and other officials opposing the divisive and wrong-headed idea of appointing Mr. Kelly as replacement for the current head of Department of Homeland Security.

On November 27, 2013 Attorney Omar Mohammedi joined Imam Talib Adbur Rashid and M. Hashmi for a Press conference announcing their intention to take NYPD to Court for refusal to respond to FOIA requests for information regarding reports of surveillance of their various, constitutionally protected conversations.

Noted Attorney Alan Levin examined NYPD’s illegal surveillance programs in an essay published in the Law Journal in mid August 2012. But despite such legal analysis, political actions and continuing media reports that have sparked calls for oversight as well as investigation,  New Yorkers have yet to see any action from the Bloomberg Administration to rein in the spying and profiling programs. However MACLC applauds Judge Scheindlin for her courageous August 2013 decision to rein in abuses and appoint a Federal monitor.

floyd1February 2013 marked the first anniversary of revelations that NYPD spied on students; and a group of lawyers initiated a lawsuit against NYPD regarding its failure to comply with Handschu agreements. MACLC members sent a MACLC_Handschu_Press_Release in support. Also, the candidate for CIA Director, John Brennan, admitted that the CIA had representation embedded in the NYPD intelligence division.
Moreover, recent reports have also shown that NYPD has developed and is promoting an ambitious partnership with Microsoft and other private partners to vastly increase the scale of surveillance over all New Yorkers. Though we focus on policies directly targeting Muslim New Yorkers, MACLC members believe that all these forms of surveillance and social control have impacted the rights of all New Yorkers.
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SOME ACTIVITIES
Throughout the various pages of this blog you will see many efforts to exert pressure and to convince City Government to rein in these troubling programs are detailed. MACLC members are convinced that profiling is not only morally wrong but that it is wasteful and ineffective policing.
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A MACLC Press Release was issued February 27, 2012 and demanded an end to NYPD’s Demographics Unit– it is regrettable that the current Bloomberg Administration has refused to engage with our community’s concerns. As the record shows, MACLC has sent a series of letters to the NYPD Commissioner asking for a meeting  to discuss concerns but received no substantive response. We were therefore shocked that his office has continued its quite divisive approach to relationship building with our community leadership and therefore wrote the Commissioner a new letter and issued a Press Release on March 6, 2012, followed by a Press Conference on March 9, 2012 to criticize the way the meetings were set up and instead invite Mr Kelly to a Town Hall Meeting.
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In the absence of direct dialogue with NYPD, MACLC members and allies have been active in raising our concerns publicly. There was also a MACLC press conference at City Hall on Thursday, January 26 2012 at 11 am. Here is the Press Statement and here and here are some articles and thoughtful reflections about the event.  MACLC supports the demands in the Muslim Advocates’ Group Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.  In addition, MACLC signed on to a February 20 Letter  created by our ally Association of American Muslim Lawyers  (AMAL) requesting an investigation from the New York State Attorney General.

Despite divisive and somewhat random NYPD efforts to cultivate Muslim allies, MACLC commends those leaders who are calling for an investigation of this scandal. We also note the positive developments regarding the inappropriate (and unauthorized) partnership with the CIA here but remain vigilant because of emerging newsPlans to strengthen the CCRB are clearly inadequate –even as a smokescreen. Councilman Brad Lander has called for an Inspector General over the NYPD. And Thanks to Councilman Jackson for his Clarification and to our other allies for their Congressional Letters and letters of concern and to State Senators for their proposed legislation. New Jersey has shown signs of civic responsibility. We are also appreciative that (unlike the local tabloids) the New York Times has come up with a strong editorial call for NYPD Accountability in response to these concerns.

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We also note the very troubling new Reports and documents revealing the extent of NYPD surveillance of Shia mosques and surveillance of mosque sermons and conversations as well as Infiltration of Muslim student clubs extending throughout the East. Specific groups under surveillance includes Syrian Americans and well respected activist and community groups. On March 22, 2012 South Asian Leaders for Tomorrow (SALT) released a new report with a number of community members voicing how these intrusive policies impact them. For further community response please visit this page as well as this page for school and student response.

MACLC CALLS FOR OVERSIGHT

MACLC members note that since late summer 2011, and numerous reports of corruption and racism within the department, as well as killing of unarmed young people we have heard an increasing number of calls for oversight over the NYPD.  Stop and Frisk numbers in 2011 reached 684,330. For these reasons we would support such calls and urge that such oversight include the illegal and certainly problematic surveillance and training programs for officers involved in national security and intelligence collection.  NYPD must be more accountable and transparent; no matter what former DHS Head Tom Ridge and former CIA Director Woolsey may say– see Daily News Diatribe in which they misrepresent MACLC, CAIR, and concerns about the Third Jihad.

As you will see documented below, MACLC  has made many efforts to meet with Commissioner Kelly about the Islamophobic content of trainings;  and following the publication of a Jan 23, 2012 New York Times article exposing NYPD’s misleading statements concerning this issue, coalition members can now better understand why we were rebuffed or sidelined for so long. Thanks to our partner Brennan Center for its efforts to uncover this troubling info, documented HERE .

At the end of 2011, Muslim New Yorkers and interfaith allies wrote a letter reminding Mayor Bloomberg that many community leaders do not accept his uncritical support for current policies: Letter

The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition   (MACLC) supported the November 18 rally for NYPD accountability and against “Police Repression.” See flier: Nov-18-Flyer#1 and nov_18_flyer2 and nov19threePDF and video

MACLC would also like to express sincere gratitude to New York Senator Kevin Parker, Senator Bill Perkins, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Senator Liz Krueger, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Senator Shirley L. Huntley for their courageous stance against the NYPD’s reported espionage and surveillance of the American Muslim community in New York, and for their uncompromising position that law enforcement must work within the framework of our laws and Constitution.  As a coalition of Muslim organizations and advocacy groups, MACLC shares these concerns, and believes that an immediate investigation of the allegations is necessary.  MACLC was formed in 2008 following the NYPD’s release of its highly prejudicial radicalization report and since then has been calling for oversight of law enforcement and correction of faulty threat analysis and policing policies.

stop-friskpicDRUMMACLC  also thanks the many City Council members for their support at the committee meeting on October 6, 2011 – we warmly hope and expect to see a full investigation of NYPD policies. It was Benjamin Franklin who said that “any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” To echo Franklin’s sentiments, it is our belief that the breach of trust created by the New York Police Department not only serves to damage the critical and long-standing relationship between law enforcement and the American Muslim community, but also goes against our Constitutional principles of liberty and presumed innocence until otherwise proven.

MACLC Responds

to Reports of NYPD-CIA Collaboration

 (New York, NY, August 25, 2011)—The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) is deeply troubled by the news of the New York City Police Department’s collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on American Muslim communities. The reporting suggests that the CIA may be violating the prohibition on domestic spying.  Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s insistence otherwise, it is clear that the NYPD is spying on entire communities without any particular suspicion of criminal activity.  Community-based surveillance falls well beyond the purview of even the NYPD’s broad preventative mandate.

From growing reliance on unsubstantiated and discriminatory theories about radicalization, to revelations about law enforcement’s use of Islamophobic training materials, to a number of reports documenting government informants literally encouraging and devising terrorist plots, there is a growing body of evidence to confirm what Muslim communities have been long been saying: the NYPD and FBI are engaging in blatant religious, racial, and national origin profiling and broad-based surveillance of Muslim communities, absent suspicion of criminal activity.  The FBI’s own guidelines authorize the agency to undertake “assessments” prior to any indication of criminal activity.  Now every American must ask about the role of the CIA in these operations.

Together, these practices paint a dangerous picture of the ways in which law enforcement engages with Muslim communities under the banner of national security. These McCarthyite spying techniques threaten the civil rights of all Americans, and deepen the long-existing rifts between communities of color and police in the United States.

Since 2007 MACLC has raised concerns about NYPD policies that encourage police officers to spy on Muslim communities when there is no indication of wrongdoing.  Despite MACLC’s best efforts, the NYPD has refused to engage meaningfully with those that draw attention to problems with its policies.  We believe the time has come for this issue to be taken up more broadly.

MACLC calls on:
• the New York City Council to investigate and oversee the NYPD’s operations, as well as a City Comptroller Audit;
• the Obama Administration to initiate a federal investigation into the extent to which the CIA has engaged in domestic spying within the United States, in violation of law and its manadate;
• Congress and the New York State Senate to hold hearings into the NYPD’s, FBI’s, and CIA’s surveillance and policing practices in Muslim communities with a focus on the role of informants;
• Congress and New York State Senate to pass enforceable anti-racial profiling legislation;
• NYPD and the Department of Justice to revise their internal guidelines to disallow the use of surveillance and informants absent suspicion of specific criminal activity.

MACLC also calls on the civil liberties community and civil society to send a message to the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg that the public has not granted them a mandate for this surveillance operation.

ALL SIGNERS LINKED HERE: 110825-MACLC_Statement_NYPD_CIA (4)

For newest articles see right hand panel. FOIL requests and other legal actions may be found there and here: Court Filing Oct 2, 2011

Published in: on August 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm  Comments (1)  

MACLC PreRamadan Breakfast letter

Most of our concerns remain unanswered despite the efforts below. We have requested meetings.

Please visit this Link for MACLC’s latest Letter to NYPD (sent to the Commissioner July 22, 2011)

Pre-Ramadan_Breakfast_MACLC_Letter_to_NYPD

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 3:20 am  Leave a Comment  

MACLC Press Conference Calls for Greater Accountability March 22 at City Hall

On March 22, 2011 Muslim community advocates were joined by elected officials, civil and immigrant rights organizations, and community supporters at a City Hall press conference to voice concerns over the NYPD’s use of “The Third Jihad” a controversial film about Islam and Muslims as part of its training program. Speakers included:

In addition, media reports included:

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/united-states/muslim-new-yorkers-seek-dignity-respect-from-nypd-53403.html

http://www.brennancenter.org/blog/archives/muslim_new_yorkers_still_waiting_for_answer/

http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/wnyc-news-blog/2011/mar/22/nypd-asked-explain-screening-anti-muslim-film/

Despite a letter from Commissioner Kelly acknowledging the issue, MACLC remains seriously troubled by the lack of transparency on this matter.

Published in: on April 1, 2011 at 5:48 am  Leave a Comment  

NYC Muslim Communities and Supporters Seek Dignity, Respect, and Accountability from NYPD

New York, NY – MACLC press conference in response to the NYC Police Department’s use of a disturbing and prejudicial film to train officers working in Muslim communities in New York City.

Tuesday, March 22nd 2011 at 2pm City Council members Daniel Dromm, Robert Jackson, Juamaane Willaims, Melissa Mark Viverito & many others:

For Full Press Advisory: MACLC_3.22_PressConfAdvisory_-_Dromm-Jackson

Published in: on March 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Response to King Hearing Allegations

Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition regrets the series of misleading and circus-like Congressional Hearings convened by Rep. Peter King.  We are pleased that at the latest Hearing on June 20  2012 MACLC Advisory Member Faiza Patel (Brennan Center) testified to give some much needed balance to a biased and unprofessional public discourse.  We also joined a Sign On Letter that 55 organisations signed onto to deplore the latest hearings and the agenda  of most of the witnesses.

MACLC was mentioned in a misleading way during the 3/10/11  Congressional Hearings convened by Rep. Peter King. In his testimony Mr Zuhdi Jasser 1) falsely claims that CAIR and MPAC co-authored our critique but in fact our work is very much a group effort and does not follow or rely on the points offered by any member organziation.  Mr Jasser goes on to say of the NYPD Radicalization Report: ”Rather than demonize this great work” these groups should have admitted that it was work Muslims should have been doing.”

To that we can only say that we do not demonize the Report but offer a critique intended to build policies that are truly fact based and not based on incorrect or incomplete analysis, unexamined assumptions and fear. Mr Jasser’s less grounded and more hysterical approach  is  seen in the propagandistic video The Third Jihad, unfortunately shown in some NYPD training courses. Regarding this very troubling fact  we continue to request full explanation from the Commissioner. See: Maclc_Letter28_January_2011-CORRECTED_NAME and NYPD_Third_Jihad_Follow-up

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

2011 Update

“Police Brainwashing” image from Village Voice 1/19/11

MACLC members sent a letter of concern to NYPD Commissioner Kelly regarding several reports of distorted right wing materials being used in NYPD officer training. MACLC members believe that these officers need to be retrained and the Department should not be using such clearly biased materials. As of early February 2011 we are waiting for a response.

See:

MACLC_Letter_-_NYPD_-_28_January_2011 (1)

On February 11 2011 MACLC sent a press release regarding the letter:

maclcPressReleaseFeb11pdfversion

In addition MACLC members have signed on to support statements of concern regarding the proposed King Hearings:

Coalition_Ltr_re_King_hearings,_2-1-11

Published in: on February 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

MACLC 9/08/09 Letter: Response to NYPD “Statement of Clarification”

September 8, 2009

 

Honorable Raymond Kelly

New York City Police Department

One Police Plaza

New York, NY 10038

 

Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat

Statement of Clarification

 

Dear Commissioner Kelly,

 

We the undersigned, members of the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (“MACLC”), write with respect to the “Statement of Clarification” that was recently added to the New York City Police Department’s (“NYPD”) 2007 report, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat (“Report”). [1]  We view the Statement of Clarification, as well as your October 6, 2008 letter, as positive examples of the NYPD’s willingness to consider the Coalition’s views regarding the Report.  That said, we feel that more action is necessary to address the concerns previously raised with your office.  In order to facilitate frank and open communication, we set out our reactions to the Statement of Clarification below, and we respectfully request a meeting to discuss the issues raised in this letter.

 

Release of Statement of Clarification

 

It is our understanding that the undated Statement of Clarification was added to the Report within the last few months without any public announcement.  MACLC was not informed of the decision to include the Statement of Clarification.  We became aware of the statement only through informal conversations, months after the release.  Moreover, it is our understanding that while the NYPD will use the current version of the Report going forward, it does not plan to inform prior recipients about the Statement of Clarification.

 

MACLC believes that if the purpose of the Statement of Clarification is to clarify the text of the Report so that the general Muslim community does not suffer harm and discrimination, then the Statement of Clarification must be released with the same level of public attention as the 2007 release of the Report.  To this end, the NYPD should proactively inform federal, state and local legislators and law enforcement agencies of the Statement of Clarification so that those entities do not, as some have seemingly done, use the Report as an enforcement guide.  A more public release of a Statement of Clarification can be an effective tool against crime and extremism as it will show the Muslim community and the general public that the NYPD is willing to listen to local communities of faith, and would demonstrate that the NYPD does not intend to target Muslim Americans as a matter of course.

 

Content of the Statement of Clarification

 

General

 

Notwithstanding the text of the Statement of Clarification and the good intentions behind its inclusion, the substantive text of the Report remains unchanged.  As a result, the Report continues to suffer from the deficiencies identified in our October 2008 report, “CountertERRORism Policy: MACLC’s Critique of the NYPD’s Report on Homegrown Radicalism.” [2]  We regret that the Statement of Clarification was relegated to an insert within the report, rather than being implemented throughout the text itself.

 

New York City Muslim Community as NYPD Ally

  • MACLC applauds the NYPD for stating that “the NYPD report should not be read to characterize Muslims as intrinsically dangerous or intrinsically linked to terrorism, and that it cannot be a license for racial, religious, or ethnic profiling.”  Rather than being stated in a quietly released clarification in the middle of the Report, we believe that this type of language is most effective when it is stated at the front of the Report, throughout the Report, and in each public statement about the Report. 

Permeating the Community

  • Despite the linguistic clarification of the word “permeated” and the statement that the report was not intended “to suggest that the NYC Muslim community has been saturated by extremism,” the unchanged language of the Report remains exceptionally troubling.  Beyond the sentence at issue (“Unfortunately, the City’s Muslim communities have been permeated by extremists who have and continue to sow the seeds of radicalization”), the continued use of quantitative terms such as “logarithmic” and “exponential” create a tone of alarm.  Moreover, the Report still plainly states that terrorists have infiltrated every aspect of the City’s Muslim community, including mosques, bookstores, student organizations and community institutions.  Such statements alienate the Muslim community and encourage prejudice against innocent citizens.  The Muslim community appreciates that the NYPD has tried to retract some of the implications of this statement and others like it, but the core language of the Report remains offensive and counter-productive.  When dealing with topics of great volatility and tremendous sensitivity, language like this can lead to grievances and unintended consequences.   
  • Focusing on the internet as an example of permeation, the clarification notes that  “anyone in the community can access [terrorist websites].”  This is not the same as showing that many or even some New Yorkers have actually accessed such websites, or that the individuals accessing them are doing so with the purpose or  intention to engage in violent acts. 

Coupling Religion and Terror

  • Beyond clarifying that the focus of the report is on al Qaeda, the Statement of Clarification and body of the Report should more clearly state that there is no per se link between Islam and terrorism and that the Report’s focus on al Qaeda should not be read to suggest such a link.

False Positives and Behaviors

  • While the clarification notes the potential waste of law enforcement resources on tracking individuals who exhibit common religious behaviors at the early stages of radicalization – behaviors that are shared by many law abiding Muslims – the clarification seems to suggest that certain religious behaviors are appropriate to track at later stages.  Moreover, the remainder of the report continues to cite religious behaviors such as prayer, wearing a beard or mode of dress as potential indicia of incipient terrorist affiliation.  Signs of religiosity should be completely decoupled from violent behavior and must be treated as independent of radicalization.  Violent acts or violent threats in the name of religion need to be monitored, but individual religious ritual practices do not.   

Not Policy Prescriptive

  • In our meetings and correspondence, the NYPD has repeatedly insisted that the Report “was never intended to be policy prescriptive for law enforcement actions” and that this point “should have been emphasized.”   The Muslim community appreciates this assurance and your restatement of the point in the Clarification.  However, the Report’s preface on page 2 still states that the “aim of this report is to assist policymakers and law enforcement officials.” Because the Report claims to be authoritative and “provide[s] a thorough understanding of the threat,” the text of the Clarification alone will not prevent policymakers from using the Report for their own ends, regardless of the NYPD’s stated intentions.  The NYPD Report has been cited by other law enforcement agencies and is clearly an influential document.  Moreover, we would like to know what specific efforts the NYPD has taken to “continue[] to underscore” that the Report is not policy prescriptive.

 

 

 

MACLC’S October 2008 Recommendations to the NYPD

 

In our October 2008 “CountertERRORism Policy” critique of the Report, we included  four categories of recommendations:  (1) Develop and make transparent the NYPD’s standards on civil liberties restrictions; (2) Develop structured approaches for partnering with the community; (3) Educate the NYPD about the Muslim Community; and (4) Educate leaders and community members about the NYPD Community Affairs Program.  We hope that through the implementation of these recommendations, we can make our ties stronger and our communities safer.  We would be interested in hearing your views on the critique and the recommendations therein.    

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

We respectfully request a meeting with your team to discuss the issues raised in this letter and in our October 2008 critique.  We, as residents of this great city, continue to support the NYPD’s interest in studying the ideological roots of terrorism, particularly in light of the tragedies of 1993 and 2001.  In that spirit, we seek to assist the NYPD and writers of the Report by correcting misperceptions and flawed conclusions.  We offer our comments with a desire to both improve public safety and safeguard our cherished liberties.

 

Thank you for your consideration.  Please direct any correspondence to Faiza N. Ali, Community Affairs Director, Council on American Islamic Relations-NY, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 246, New York, NY 10115.

 

Sincerely,

 

Omar MohammediAlly Haq

Association of Muslim American Lawyers

 

Faiza N. AliAliya Latif

Council on American Islamic Relations-NY

 

Abdelhafid DjemilMuslim American Society (MAS) of New York

 

Adem CarollMuslim Consultative Network

 

 

Asim RehmanMuslim Bar Association of New York Aisha Al-AdawiyaSarah Sayeed, PhD

Women in Islam Inc.

 

 

 


[1] Available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/public_information/NYPD_Report-Radicalization_in_the_West.pdf.

[2] Available at http://maclcnypdcritique.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/counterterrorism-policy-final-paper3.pdf

Published in: on September 8, 2009 at 10:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

NYPD Statement of Clarification (added, Summer 2009)

STATEMENT OF CLARIFICATION (from p. 11-12 of the Report)

(full Report available at www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/public_information/NYPD_Report-Radicalization_in_the_West.pdf)

This statement should serve as a means of clarification for some issues that have arisen in the wake of this report’s publication.

 1) New York City Muslim Community as NYPD Ally: The NYPD Report,―Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat‖ is exclusively focused on al Qaeda inspired and linked terrorism in the West. The twisted ideology that underpins this specific type of terrorism claims its legitimacy from an extremist misinterpretation of Islam. As a consequence, this particular type of terrorist ideology has historically found most of its supporters to be Muslim.

Nevertheless, NYPD understands that it is a tiny minority of Muslims who subscribe to al Qaeda’s ideology of war and terror and that the NYPD’s focus on al Qaeda inspired terrorism should not be mistaken for any implicit or explicit justification for racial, religious or ethnic profiling.

Rather, the Muslim community in New York City is our ally and has as much to lose, if not more, than other New Yorkers if individuals commit acts of violence (falsely) in the name of their religion. As such, the NYPD report should not be read to characterize Muslims as intrinsically dangerous or intrinsically linked to terrorism, and that it cannot be a license for racial, religious, or ethnic profiling.

 2) Permeating the community: On Page 69 of the report, it says,

―Unfortunately, the City’s Muslim communities have been permeated by extremists who have and continue to sow the seeds of radicalization.‖

There has been some confusion about the precise intended meaning of this statement.

NYPD sought to use the word as Webster’s defines it – ―to diffuse through or penetrate something‖ to explain that extremists have, as a foreign element, penetrated the community and attempted to proliferate their ideology and thus ―sow the seeds of radicalization‖. The intention was never to suggest that the NYC Muslim community has been saturated by extremism.

The Internet serves as an excellent example of how extremists permeate the community online, as it provides a venue for more than 500 extremist websites — anyone in the community can access it.

 3) Coupling Religion and Terror: Al Qaeda inspired terrorism is not the only type of terrorism that New York City has faced. In fact, before 9/11, other religious and ethnic groups were responsible for more terrorist related deaths of New Yorkers than any Islamic group. These included the Italian anarchists of the early 20th century and the Puerto Rican FALN in the 1980’s, among others. However, given the almost 3,000 deaths in New York City as a result of al Qaeda terrorism, al Qaeda was chosen as the topic of this study.

 4) False positives and behaviors: Because of the NYPD’s focus on al

Qaeda inspired and linked terrorism in this report, it inevitably would focus on those who are most attracted to the ideology and those who have made up the majority of recruits to this specific movement.

This study analyzes the pathway by which these individuals got

radicalized. In all of the case studies, early steps in this process

happened in parallel with individuals’ greater devotion to their religion and greater observance of rituals. However, during the early stages of radicalization, the behaviors associated with a greater degree of religiosity, in and of themselves, cannot be used as a signature of someone potentially becoming a terrorist.

The individuals, at this point, do not know what trajectory they themselves will follow, so law enforcement would be doing itself a disservice and wasting significant resources on tracking individuals who simply exhibit behaviors that at this stage are perfectly benign and in the vast majority of cases not associated with terrorism.

5) Not policy prescriptive: The NYPD reiterates that this report was not intended to be policy prescriptive for law enforcement. In all of its dealings with Federal, State and Local authorities, the NYPD continues to underscore this important point.

Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm  Comments (4)  

ysandcommisionerkellynypd1gazasmoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

MACLC

Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition

 

January 14, 2009

The Honorable Raymond Kelly

New York City Police Department

One Police Plaza

New York, N.Y. 10038

 

Dear Commissioner Kelly,

 

We, the undersigned, are writing to request a meeting to register our concerns over the mishandling and arrest of nine young people by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) at the close of a recent rally in support of the civilians of Gaza. We are deeply concerned that this incident will exacerbate the growing rift between the Muslim community and NY officials.

 

The January 11th incident on Manhattan’s West Side has lead many in the NY Muslim community to suspect unwarranted police profiling of Muslim youth. Several eyewitnesses to the arrests claim that NYPD officers instigated altercations with protesters and used aggressive force to subdue the crowd.

Whether or not these allegations are true, trust between the Muslim community and the NYPD is indeed eroding. This incident, coupled with your recent visit to Israel with Mayor Bloomberg, sends a disconcerting message that the NYPD has taken a one-sided stance on the issue of Gaza here and abroad.

 

As the chief of the NYPD, you have a unique opportunity to repair the damage done to NYPD/NY Muslim community relations. We request that you meet with us to discuss these concerns in further detail and look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Omar Mohammedi

President, Association of Muslim American Lawyers

 

Wael Mousfar

President, Arab Muslim American Federation

 

Faiza N. Ali

Community Affairs Director, Council on American Islamic Relations-NY

 

Mohammad Razvi

Executive Director, Council of Peoples Organization

 

Khurshid Khan

President, Islamic Circle of North America

 

Imam Shamsi Ali

Director, Jamaica Muslim Center Inc.

 

Abdelhafid Djemil,

Outreach Coordinator, Muslim American Society New York

 

Adem Caroll

Board President, Muslim Consultative Network

 

Asim Rehman

President, Muslim Bar Association of New York

 

Naoma Nagahawatte

Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council-NYC Office

 

Aisha Al-Adawiya

Executive Director, Women in Islam Inc.

Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 5:19 am  Comments (1)  

NewsFlash: Letter to Napolitano

On December 12, 2008 MACLC sent a letter to Janet Napolitano, the new head of Department of Homelands Security, calling on the new Administration to develop security polices that avoid linking religious precepts with terrorism. See: http://maclc2.wordpress.com/

napolitanoletter1

Published in: on December 18, 2008 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  

MUSLIM AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES COALITION

MUSLIM AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES COALITION (MACLC) is a group of New York City Muslim American organizations partnered with Civil liberties groups, troubled by NYPD counter terrorism policies. Thanks to the facilitation of Aziz Huq of the Brennan Center of Justice (NYU) this group has been meeting regularly since the publication of the NYPD report in August 2007.

The MACLC group has met collectively several times with the Commissioner and Mr. Silber, one of the writers of the Report. However, it remains to be seen what (if any) changes will be made to the analysis and framing of the report, which we find so troubling.  Meanwhile, the NYPD report seems to be influencing police departments and security policy makers around the nation, steering them towards profiling immigrant males and “homegrown terrorists.”

MACLC members share security concerns with all New Yorkers but feel the duty to guide NYPD towards more accurate analysis. Wrong understanding does not make us safer. This site will maintain the main reports and updated news pertaining to this ongoing issue.

As you scroll down you will see various reports and actions to keep this issue before the public as well as policy makers. On November 20, 2008 MACLC publicly challenged NYPD to make changes to the report. See: http://picasaweb.google.com/mcnnyc/MACLC#slideshow

In addition, on December 12, 2008 MACLC sent a letter to Janet Napolitano, the new head of Department of Homelands Security, calling on the new Administration to develop security polices that avoid linking religious precepts with terrorism. See: http://maclc2.wordpress.com/

napolitano_letter_12_12_085

Seeking opportu:nity to improve police department analysis around the nation, MACLC plans to be increasingly vocal in the upcoming months. Steering Committee members include; CAIR NY, MPAC NY; Muslim Consultative Network; MAS Freedom Forum NY; Women in Islam, Advisors from AMAL Association of Muslim American Lawyers and Brennan Center for Justice; network members include Muslim Bar Association of New York, Islamic Circle of North America, Jamaica Muslim Center, ICCNY, AL Khoei, Women in Islam, Council of Peoples Organizations,  and others.

Published in: on September 13, 2008 at 5:05 am  Comments (1)  
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Muslim Community statement to NYPD Commissioner

November 23, 2007

 

 

Honorable Raymond Kelly

Police Commissioner of NYPD

One Police Plaza

New York, NY 10038

 

 

Dear Commissioner Kelly:

 

Please find enclosed a statement of some Muslim community concerns regarding the Bhatt and Silber report, Radicalization in the West: the Home Grown Threat.  We look forward to hearing your responses to these concerns on Monday, and we hope that Monday’s meeting will be the start of a process of honest and productive dialogue addressing and correcting the dangerous misconceptions evident in the report.

On the basis of this meeting and the enclosed statement, we urge you to take the following immediate action:

  • To cease distribution of the report to other jurisdictions’ law enforcement agencies while the NYPD carefully responds to and corrects the report’s misconceptions and errors;
  • To clarify what policies have been adopted by the NYPD as a consequence of the report, and in particular respond to concerns expressed in the Community Statement submitted by diverse Muslim community representatives;
  • To issue a public statement to the effect that the NYPD is working with members of the Muslim community of New York on developing a sound, rights-respecting policy on “radicalization” that will not lead to religious or racial profiling;
  • To commit NYPD to a regular schedule of ongoing dialogue to address the issues identified in the attached statement.

We thank for your attention and look forward to our discussion.

 

 communitystatementonnypdreport

Published in: on September 13, 2008 at 3:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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NYPD Radicalization Report

See link attached. This is the Report that started it all! nypdreport-radicalizationinthewest

Published in: on September 12, 2008 at 5:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Commissioner Kelly’s Response to Community

This is the Text of Commissioner Kelly’s Response,

Received October 2008letterfromkelly

Published in: on July 19, 2008 at 2:00 am  Comments (1)  

October 23 Response to Commissioner

 munib2

 

 

Counter Report attached here:

counterterrorismpolicyfinalpaper

 

Cover letter to Commisioner:

 

October 23, 2008

 

Honorable Raymond Kelly

Police Commissioner of NYPD

One Police Plaza

New York, NY 10038

 

 

Dear Commissioner Kelly:

 

We the undersigned New York Muslim advocates, attorneys, and community leaders write to welcome your commitment to open and ongoing dialogue with the Muslim community and express our appreciation for your decision to publicly distance the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from some of the worrying implications of the NYPD report Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat (“NYPD Report”) in your letter of October 6, 2008.

 

Indeed, it is a mark of your leadership that you participated personally in a series of discussions about the NYPD Report with members of the Muslim community, following its release in August of 2007. We believe that frank discussions – including robust public debate and criticism of law enforcement – are necessary precursors to a successful counter-terrorism policy.

 

As such, in response to your clarifications, observations and updates in the October 6, 2008 letter, we submit the following:

 

  • Without question, terrorism raises serious and painful questions for all New Yorkers irrespective of their faith, race, or national origin. In the same vein, profiling by law enforcement on the basis of religion and race also warrants careful attention. Therefore, we appreciate your acknowledgement in the letter “that Muslims are not in any way a threat to security” (p.1). This statement is critically important because it reduces the actual risk that some police officers, whether here or abroad, might read the NYPD Report and consider it a justification for racial, religious, or ethnic profiling.

 

  •  We are grateful you point out that the NYPD Report is “not intended to be policy prescriptive for law enforcement” (p.1), specifically because in a letter signed by you and printed in the preface of the NYPD Report indicates that the intention of the NYPD Report’s drafters was indeed to inform policy-makers. Notwithstanding intent, it is unfortunately inevitable that the views of a police department as respected and influential as the NYPD will create a paradigm from which new policies emerge when it issues a report on a topic as intensely debated as domestic terrorism. It is also predictable that line officers within police forces who read the NYPD Report, or are briefed on its contents may draw the inference that all or most Muslims are a public safety threat.

To our understanding, the absence of any clear indication that the NYPD Report was “not intended to be policy prescriptive for law enforcement” has meant that other state and federal authorities have taken the NYPD Report as a diagnosis and have adopted analyses or remedies that target the entire Muslim community as a whole. While the NYPD is of course not directly responsible for other governmental entities’ decisions, the inadequacies of the NYPD Report have thus encouraged and seemingly vindicated profiling by other agencies, including but not limited to the following:

 

1. For example, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental

Affairs has adopted the NYPD Report’s analysis without even the reservations

contained in your letter. Relying on the NYPD Report, the Committee makes the

alarmist statement that “the United States will likely face increasing levels of

homegrown terrorism”—a statement that is simply not supported by any evidence

from the NYPD Report or any source cited by the Senate Committee.

 

2. Furthermore, the NYPD Report has also inspired other jurisdictions to adopt specific

ethnic and national origin profiling tactics. Drawing on the NYPD Report, the

Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, Homeland Security Division has

developed protocols for car stops that profile for citizenship and connections to

“Islamic owned businesses.”

 

3 That is, the NYPD Report has already become a justification for racial and religious profiling.

 

  • You state that the reason for the NYPD Report’s release “was for the expressed purpose of engaging and soliciting a broad array of views from a diverse group of people” (p.1). Usually, however, such consultation occurs before public release in order to identify problems or misconceptions. If there had been consultations with knowledgeable members of the Muslim community prior to its publication, many of our concerns with the standing NYPD Report could have been flagged and corrected.

 

  • You mention reaching out to “Muslim Experts” in order to understand the situation of American Muslims. But, it is not clear that the experts you identify in fact are equipped to speak about American Muslims. You cite consultations with Saudi experts, but it is well known that Saudi scholars—and certainly the Saudi government—do not speak for Muslims generally nor represent or substitute the views of American Muslims. Indeed, your assumption that the “Muslim Experts” from Saudi Arabia can accurately speak to trends and ideas concerning Islam in America is troubling because it suggests a poverty of understand the demographic and cultural aspects of the American Muslim community in New York and elsewhere.
  • You mention “[t]wo of your members, M. Ali Chaudry … and Sheikh Moussa Drammeh” were invited to a “Radicalization and De-radicalization Workshop” (p.2). However, neither these “outside experts” have been working with the undersigned groups who represent a significant proportion of New York Muslims, and, to the best of our knowledge, nor were they in attendance at our meetings at Police Plaza. It is further unclear what qualifications or expertise these two individuals bring to the discussion on radicalization and de-radicalization. While there may be difficultly in coordinating with the larger Muslim community, the NYPD must consciously solicit representative views and consider a broad spectrum of the Muslim community and expertise in the course of dialogues.

 In responding to the NYPD Report’s implicit justification of profiling, you draw a distinction between “religion and ethnicity” and the “broader range of communities that cut across the report’s eleven case studies” (p.2). You also note that, “behaviors associated with religion” were “endemic across all 11 cases.” Notwithstanding due appreciation for this distinction, we are deeply worried that the October 6, 2008 letter continues to mistake selection bias in the NYPD Report itself for a valid inference about Islam. The standing NYPD Report only profiled cases in which the suspect was a Muslim, overlooking the fact that the same behaviors associated with religion are found in other cases with no direct or indirect association to terrorism. Any religious commonality is due to selection decisions of the authors of the NYPD Report’s, rather than from an inherent trait of homegrown radicalization. Therefore, it is hardly effective or telling to include these particular behaviors as markers of someone becoming radicalized. We further note that federal law enforcement authorities have been very careful not to make the same error when conversing with us about radicalization.4

 We therefore urge the NYPD to:

  •  Post the October 6, 2008, letter on the NYPD web-site along with the NYPD Report, with directions that the NYPD Report should not be read to characterize Muslims as intrinsically dangerous or linked to terrorism, and that it cannot be a license for racial, religious, or ethnic profiling.

 

  • Correct the text of the NYPD Report that is available on the internet, and that is shared within the NYPD and with other law enforcement units so that the language and tone of the NYPD Report no longer implicitly encourage racial, religious, or ethnic profiling.

 

  • Communicate these corrections to all the law enforcement agencies with which the NYPD has been communicating.

 

  • Improve communications and dialogue with the New York Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities. We welcome the opportunity to “maintain[n] an open dialogue.”  Such an open dialogue, however, requires more transparency about the current and planned policies. Sharing an advance draft of the NYPD Report, for example, could have reduced the risk of misinterpretations. Alternatively, such a report can be issued as a consultation document that is open for public feedback before it is finalized.
  •  Undertake “a broader examination of other terrorism-related plots,” of which the 11 case studies “were a subset.” The broader subset may “provide a sound statistical basis to support the report’s findings” (p.2).

 In closing, we hope that your recognition of the dangers – not to mention the ineffectiveness- of racial, religious, or ethnic profiling will correct the widespread misunderstandings of Islam encouraged by the NYPD Report’s coupling of religion with terror. We also hope that the NYPD will continue a policy of sincere, productive, and respectful engagement with Muslim communities grounded in recognizing the harms of police profiling, especially on these difficult issues. To that end, we have been working on a longer response to the standing NYPD Report that we hope will help prevent any further distortions of the American Muslim community. We will share this report, enclosed herein, with our community and with the press.

 

Sincerely,

 

Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition

Including: Council of American Islamic Relations NY Chapter; Muslim Public Action Council New York; Muslim Bar Association of New York; Muslim Consultative Network; Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; Women in Islam; Jamaica Muslim Center; Brennan Center for Justice

 

 

Co-signed by New York Civil Liberties Union; Center for Constitutional Rights; South Asian Leaders of Tomorrow; Desis Rising up and Moving; et al

 

 

 

1 U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, “Violent Islamist Extremism, The

Internet, and the Homegrown terrorist Threat: Majority & Minority Staff Report,” May 8, 2008, at 4.

2 Id. at 5.

3 Testimony of Major Thomas Dailey, Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, Homeland Security Division, to

the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, “The Role of Local Law Enforcement in Countering

Violent Extremism,” 18-19, 22 (October 30, 2007).

 

4 Testimony of Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, before the Senate

Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Hearing on The Threat of Islamic Radicalism to the

Homeland (March 14, 2007) available at http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/_files/031407Chertoff.pdf.

Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 5:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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November 20 Press Conference, CITY HALL

maclc2 http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=17002

During a press conference held this morning on the steps of New York City Hall, the New York Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition released its critique of a controversial report from the New York Police Department about the threat of domestic radicalization. http://www.us4arabs.com/content/view/1093/31/

and

http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/american_muslim_coalition_releases_critique_of_nypd_radicalization_report/0016955

 and (with some backhanded praise) the far right commented on us as well:
 
http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2008/11/muslim-civil-liberties-coalition-to.html
Published in: on June 29, 2008 at 5:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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