NYPD Clarification of Radicalization Report A 'Welcome First Step'

September 10, 2009

A coalition of Muslim advocates, lawyers and community leaders has called the NYPD decision to add a "Statement of Clarification" to its 2007 report, "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat" a "welcome first step." They urged the NYPD to publicize the Clarification and engage in deeper dialogue with the group to ensure effective security policy.

The Clarification, which followed ongoing meetings and consultation with the New York based Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC), stated clearly that the NYPD's 2007 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."

SEE ALSO: NYPD Report Clarification (pp 11-12)

SEE ALSO: MACLC Critique of NYPD Report

A joint statement issued today by MACLC and the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU's School of Law read:

"The Statement of Clarification is a welcome first step in the NYPD's response to the Muslim community's concerns about the NYPD Report.

"However, we are troubled that the NYPD did not alert stakeholders or the public to the Clarification. It is not clear whether the NYPD informed prior report recipients including the federal and local law enforcement agencies that rely on the report about the Clarification. Indeed, the lack of publicity surrounding the Department's release of its Clarification substantially undermines its potential impact.

"Furthermore, the new Clarification section is lost in the full report, which, despite including numerous errors and harmful stereotypes, remains unchanged. As a result, the standing report now sends unsettling, mixed messages: the clarifying statement delinks Islam and radicalization, but the original text implies a strong connection between Muslim beliefs and tendencies toward extremism and violence.

"Issuance of the Clarification provides a perfect opportunity for the NYPD to publicly and clearly articulate the purpose of the report and the NYPD's theories on how to combat violent extremism in the United States.

"We ask Commissioner Kelly to make it plain to New Yorkers and the world at large that his department does not regard traditional religious practice as the cause of violent acts or terrorist tendencies. We encourage to the Department intensify dialogue with the Muslim communities in New York to ensure that the NYPD's further study of this issue is based on a real understanding, not on stereotypes."

Click here for a full account of MACLC's opinion on the NYPD's Statement of Clarification.

The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition is a New York-based coalition of Muslim advocates, attorneys and community leaders created in 2007, in the wake of the New York City Police Department report, "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat." MACLC exists for the purpose of articulating a New York-specific Muslim perspective on homeland security, civil liberties, and counterterrorism decision-making. In the fall of 2008, it issued a counter-report "CounterERRORism Policy: MACLC's Critique of the NYPD's Report on Homegrown Radicalism." The Brennan Center for Justice serves as legal adviser to the Coalition.

-- Sarah Sayeed, zfsanmsm@yahoo.com
Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition

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