Critiques & Rebuttals of Official Spin

This section will be expanded later. For now, here are some very informative links:

THIRD JIHAD

The Third Jihad is a film created by Clarion which created the infamous “Obsession” video. Rebuttal Page Here.

ZUHDI JASSER

The narrator to the Third Jihad Film (and Congressman Peter King’s “favorite Muslim”) is Arizona-based Zuhdi Jasser. For useful perspective and critical examination of this man’s agenda please see the Washington Post and the summary of articles by The American Muslim as well as Islamophobia Watch

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On March 5, Mr Jasser led a rally of “Muslim supporters of NYPD Suveillance” mostly from out of town. Fox News and CBS reported on the event, along with others. For context, see the interview with Hesham El Meliggy in the Staten Island Advance and Imam Talib’s scathing description of the event. In addition, this is a comment by MACLC member Amna Akbar that was included in the print edition of the NY Post but did not make it to the digital version: “The few misguided individuals that showed up in support of the NYPD today do not speak on behalf of Muslim communities,” said Amna Akbar, a lawyer with the City University of New York School of Law’s Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility program. “Through know your rights workshops, rallies at Foley Square and Wall Street and calls for federal, state and city investigations, Muslim communities have been loud and clear that the NYPD’s surveillance policies are unwarranted, dangerous and divisive.”

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NY POST & DR QUANTA AHMED

The racist imagery in this 2/24/12 cartoon hardly needs pointing out– if these hooked nosed men were Jews there would be an understandable  furor. The dangerous & defamatory point seems to be that Muslims who are trying to protect their civil rights must have something to hide.

The Post has a long history of Muslim-baiting.

Regarding the 2/29/12 Opinion Piece by South Carolina based guest writer Dr. Quanta Ahmed,  she implies that criticizing the NYPD is only a smear campaign and fundamentally disloyal strategem of Islamists– with an agenda to install a theocracy.  This is far from the truth; MACLC for example includes a wide variety of American Muslims who seek to strengthen US constitutional protections, not weaken them; who know that dissent and social justice advocacy are well honored forms of American patriotism.

Dr Ahmed refers warmly to her colleague Zuhdi Jasser and joins him in seeking to claim the mantle of American Patriot without acknowledging such ideals in others. Instead she minimizes American Muslim civil liberties advocacy, claiming that “The Islamist thrives — citing freedom of speech, claiming disadvantaged civil rights, exploiting the privileges that a liberal democracy accords him….he or she truly serves a political agenda centered on replacing liberal democracy with fundamentalist theocracy.”

Dr Ahmed asserts, “In fact, the Koran is explicit on the loyalties a Muslim must accord his host nation, mandating a Muslim’s duty to be an unwavering and loyal patriot.” However, while there is some truth to this, this argument has been used by despots  & dictators throughout the Muslim world and overstates the requirement, which also conditional on lack of oppression. Most egregiously however Dr Ahmed incorrectly conflates loyalty with mindless & passive acceptance of the status quo.

We also must note her history of accepting a far right analysis that emphasizes the threat of an apparently monolithic political Islam. This perspective can be seen in the previous article the Accidental Zionist.  While Dr. Ahmed makes some legitimate & thoughtful points about understanding the existential anxiety of many contemporary Jews,  her fear mongering concerning an “unprecedented, feral Islamic extremism” and “fetal legacy of a contemporary, ferociously radical Islam” seems to reflect an unnuanced and distorted view of her own traditions and her conclusion seems to suggest that Palestinian demands to live in their homeland should be completely given up in favor of a Zionist security state.

DAILY NEWS & SENATOR SCHUMER

 

RE: the New York Daily News February 2012 Editorial supporting NYPD surveillance of Muslim community–

The Daily News Editorial Board has long been an unswerving supporter of Commissioner Kelly and old fashioned law and order politics. The newspaper does not seem to recognize the fact that NYPD requires a strong and independent oversight mechanism like an Inspector General or it will continue to run amok in many ways. The Board should understand that the local Muslim community is right to be concerned about the impact of rising Islamophobia on police training and policy. This trend is on the rise around the country. The police & government need to engage with (in a non manipulative way) the various American Muslim groups instead of subjecting them to poor quality research and subpar analysis. NYC Muslim groups have been asking this of Mr. Kelly and he has been holding them off for almost a year.

Some of our politicians are demanding that some of the most active and engaged Muslims groups like CAIR be excluded from dialogue, on various irrelevant pretexts. Senator Schumer has been one of those unhelpful voices, so his stance here is no surprise though we must hope he will develop a more responsible and nuanced position. So far Mr Schumer seems to accept quite doubtful assurances that NYPD only obtained “publicly available information” and that these policies have kept us safe. These are sloppy and unproven assertions, not  policy analysis.

The Daily News as well has refused to accept an Op Ed from MACLC in response to its recent Op Ed by Tom Ridge & James Woolsley denouncing the “smear” against NYPD. Former CIA head Woolsey has clear links to Islamophobic groups that promote the Clarion films.

COMMISSIONER KELLY

The NYPD Commissioner & his spokesman Paul Browne have relied on spin instead of reforming their surveillance policies in any way. The mayor also repeated assertions by the police that several convicted terrorists had been involved in Muslim student associations. This is unproven.  However the surveillance of organizations is an essentially different thing from placing an individual under watch.

We note also the insistence on making use of “publicly available information.” If this is the case, the information about mosques and student clubs would be very unlikely to be up to date or accurate — would NYPD then move to verify it directly? What safeguards or firewalls are in place? We have only received an airy dismissal of our serious concerns, for example: “Of course, we’re going to look at anything that’s publicly available, in the public domain,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “We have an obligation to do so, and it is to protect the very things that let Yale survive.”

Mr Browne makes an assertion about recruitment. “Some of the most dangerous Western Al Qaeda-linked/inspired terrorists since 9/11 were radicalized and/or recruited at universities in MSAs,” Mr. Browne said via e-mail. “We were focused on radicalization and/or recruitment, specifically by groups like Al Muhajiroun, Islamic Thinkers Society, Revolution Muslim and others.”

Such movements do not run Muslim Students Associations but are marginal presences. Muslims who are concerned about the ideologies of such groups would not conflate them with militant or violent movements and would expect that they could be best addressed through community education and not drawn into sting operations. Muslim community & student organizations should be encouraged & empowered to take such a responsible role instead of all being categorized as suspect.

ProPublica published an article in June 2012 describing how the NYPD misrepresents facts about its counter terror program.

MITCHELL SILBER

In summer 2012 NYPD consultant and  author of the infamous NYPD Radicalization Report produced an article Who will Defend the Defenders? in the right wing Commentary magazine, in which he accuses the AP of seeking to damage American  counter-terror efforts.

 

CHRISTINE QUINN AND ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNIEDERMAN

So far (3/3/12) many Muslims are disappointed in the disengaged positions taken by these once-liberal politicians who would be expected to be sensitive to civil liberties concerns. So far in an article in the Wall Street Journal Ms Quinn has suggested “that she would continue the strategy if voters elect her to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg next year. “Unless we know that laws were broken or someone’s civil liberties were violated, I do not think the NYPD should stop the practice,” she said .”

Obviously we think it should be clear that rights are being violated; one might hope that officials would care that (at the very least) limits and safeguards should be identified for such intrusive mapping programs. We hope our allies will be able to point out the actual and potential illegalities of such profiling programs.

Regarding Mr Schniederman, he has suggested that legal technicalities prevent his engagement   The Attorney General suggested that he might not be able to investigate because his office sits with the NYPD as part the Joint Terrorism Task Force. However, we note that does not stop the FBI from investigating members of its colleague organizations on the JTTF. If the AG can invesigate Stop & Frisk we think he can & should investgate other forms of NYPD over-reaching.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG

BOTH Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly are engaged in divisive tactics saying that Muslims are on board with the NYPD strategies. MACLC and the Majlis Ash Shura (Islamic Leadership Council of NY) strongly contest Bloomberg’s statement that Muslims approve of the NYPD actions. We don’t approve of those tactics, and neither do the scores of Muslim groups who have criticized the NYPD in the press and in open letters to the Mayor, to Kelly, and the NY Attorney General. There are a few  opportunistic and short sighted community leaders who have met with Commissioner Kelly and expressed full support for surveillance of their own community. It was disengenuous for Mr Bloomberg to make this statement based on the words of “yes men” when earlier this week a large group of Muslim community organizations sent an open letter to Kelly protesting the NYPD’s actions.  See his statement: http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_8545/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=77jJ21cZ

JOHN BRENNAN

In late April White House “Counterterrorism Advisor” John Brennan issued a statement at an NYPD event that the media has depicted as solid support for NYPD surveillance policies. If this is not indeed his intention then Mr Brennan has the reponsibility to correct the record public as soon as possible. For one response to  his reported statement:

RELEASE: CAPAC CHAIR DENOUNCES BRENNAN’S SUPPORT FOR NYPD SPYING FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2012 Contact: Dan Lindner, 202.225.5464 dan.lindner@mail.house.gov

CAPAC CHAIR DENOUNCES BRENNAN’S SUPPORT FOR NYPD SPYING WASHINGTON, DC –

Following remarks by White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan in support of the New York Police Department’s domestic intelligence program, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, released the following statement: “I am very disappointed to hear the White House’s chief counterterrorism advisor endorsing the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) domestic surveillance program. Attorney General Holder has acknowledged that the reports of this initiative are ‘disturbing,’ and thirty four members of Congress and over 100 civil rights organizations have called for a federal investigation into these questionable practices. We all recognize that national security is a priority, but racial and religious profiling of entire communities by law enforcement is not the answer. The NYPD targeted innocent student groups, shops, and places of worship without any justifiable leads and an implicit presumption of wrongdoing based solely on their faith. The NYPD’s approach to Muslim Americans after 9/11 is a regression to some of the darkest times in our nation’s history and has no place in our modern society. Effective policing requires law enforcement and communities to work together as trusting partners to ensure the safety of all Americans. I sincerely hope that Mr. Brennan will reconsider his position.”

BACKGROUND: On Friday, April 20, 2012, White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan spoke in support of the NYPD’s practice of spying on American citizens. The surveillance policy, which included observation of Muslim businesses, student groups and mosques, has drawn scrutiny since it was exposed by reporters last fall – including open criticism from Congresswoman Chu and many other members of Congress. ### The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently Chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.

FINAL NOTE FOR NOW

Haroun Moghul has written an informative critique of Asra Nomani’s support for spying.

Mohammedi Razvi fails to directly answer  some hard and focused questions on ABC.

This March 9 NY Daily News article actually suggests how sloppy these surveillance reports are.

A legal community pushback has begun to challenge Commissioner Kelly on his assurances that  the surveillance is legal.

For all those who raise questions about the AP articles that were so useful in casting  light on NYPD surveillance policies, the AP editor has answered some questions here.

Published on March 4, 2012 at 2:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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