Monday, November 12, 2007

LAPD to `Map' Muslims

It was recently revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department counter terrorism bureau has a plan to create a map detailing the Muslim communities in Los Angeles. And some of the natives are restless, to put it mildly.

This came out October 30th, after LAPD Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing, who heads the counter terrorism bureau, testified before a U.S. Senate committee that the LAPD was planning to carry out the mapping project of Muslim neighborhoods.

He testified that the project would determine the geographic distribution of Muslims in the Los Angeles area and take "a look at their history, demographics, language, culture, ethnic breakdown, socioeconomic status and social interactions."

The idea apparently is to try to determine trouble sots, looking at which communities might be having problems integrating and might be susceptible to participating in terrorist attacks.

There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims living in the Greater L.A. area, including Orange and Riverside counties, the second-biggest U.S. concentration outside the New York metro area.

The ACLU and several Muslim groups, including CAIR,Muslim Advocates, a national association of Muslim lawyers, and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella organization for mosques object to this, to say the least.

"When the starting point for a police investigation is, 'Let's look at all Muslims,' we are going down a dangerous road," attorney Peter Bibring of the ACLU of Southern California said in an interview.

"For the LAPD or any police department to assume that one group is more terrorist or violent than another because of their religion alone, that's a very scary phenomenon in our country," a Muslim advocate group representative said.

Gee, I wonder why....both WTC bombings including 9/11, the planned attacks on the Sears Tower, JFK, and Jewish schools and synagogues in LA, the DC sniper, Sami al-Arian and Islamic Jihad, al Haramain, the shootings at the Jewish community center in Seattle and the El Al counter at LAX, the jihad friendly Saudi sponsored rhetoric at US mosques and madrassahs to name just a few items....and that's just here in the US.

Just maybe the LAPD have the idea that knowing whom the players are in their local area and what they're up to just might make a difference.

At least one Muslim group has the common sense to understand that this sort of prevention is actually a protection for Muslims not involved in terrorism, an dthat Muslims are frequently the victims of Islamist terrorism. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Salam al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council is considering being the LAPD's partner in the project, and that he's on record as saying that he supports anything that would help integration, as long as it safeguarded civil liberties.

The LAPD said this kind of project is necessary in order to identify what they refer to as 'extremist elements'. They mentioned European cities as examples where Muslim communities have become a major source for terrorist recruitment.

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