It's been a tough few weeks for the New York City Police Department (NYPD), as critics have charged authorities with unfairly targeting Muslim populations. While surveillance activities have been dubbed as discriminatory by some who believe the police department has gone to far, a unique rally will take place this morning in support of the NYPD's tactics.
Muslim groups have heavily criticized the department and politicians charged with overseeing its operations after The Associated Press reported that the NYPD had been secretly monitoring Muslims across the Northeast following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
On Monday morning, Muslim leaders from the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) will come together in support of officers' tactics to target extremism in their community.
WNYW-TV has more about the group's plans to assemble:
The rally, which is expected to start at 10 a.m. ET, will include representatives from more than 20 Muslim organizations, activists and Congressman Peter King (R-NY), who serves as the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security.
King, who has been a major NYPD supporter and a chief ally among those leading the fight against Islamic extremism, had made his opinion clear on the matter.
"The threat right now is Islamist terrorism -- and that's going to be coming from the Muslim community, it's just a fact," he said. "Just like the mafia came from the Italian community, and the Russian mob is coming from the Russian community."
On its web site, the AILC is promoting the rally and explaining why, despite criticism among many individuals in the Muslim community, its members are supporting the NYPD (read the entire press release):
Since the 2007 release of its Intelligence Division’s landmark report, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” the NYPD has come under a systematic and coordinated assault by highly-politicized Islamist organizations and their enablers, intent on dismantling the NYPD’s successful counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization programs. These groups would prefer to see American Muslims shackled to a mindset of victimization, and thus alienated from American society at large, rather than confront the very real issues we face in our communities, including the threat of extremist ideology. [...]
It is important to note that published NYPD documents clearly and appropriately distinguish between the religion of Islam, and the highly politicized ideology of hatred, supremacy and violence characteristic of political Islam (i.e., “Islamism”), and especially the subset thereof known as “jihadi Salafism.” [...]
In light of the swirling controversy over the New York Police Department’s counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization practices, we feel it is our civic, moral and religious duty to publicly address a number of issues raised by this controversy.
"To our knowledge, no NYPD counter-terrorism cases have given rise to departmental abuses of power," the release continues, concluding with a reiteration of support for the department's "courageous" efforts to protect the city.
While the AILC is praising these actions, CAIR has been railing against the NYPD's surveillance tactics. In addition to post-9/11 anti-terror measures, some of the angst being displayed by CAIR, among other groups, stems from allegations that the NYPD showed "The Third Jihad," a film about radical Islam, to nearly 1,500 police officers during training (the department did eventually admit that the documentary was shown in the lobby of a training building). The Blaze extensively covered this issue in January.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the narrator of the film, is also expected to speak at today's rally. "We feel the NYPD has been taking a lot of unfair hits," he said, referring to the reason for today's pro-NYPD gathering.
This showing of support is the community's first real stance for the NYPD and its counter-terror efforts.