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Cross-Post: Muslim Americans to NYPD: Enough Already, the Commish Must Go

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jan 28, 2012

Originally published by Colorlines on January 27th.

On Tuesday the New York Times reported that the New York Police Department showed nearly 1,500 of its officers “The Third Jihad,” a 72-minute documentary that casts Muslim Americans as ubiquitously engaged in “a strategy to infiltrate and dominate America.” It was the latest item in a growing list of revelations about the NYPD’s profiling and surveillance of Muslim Americans, and now it has prompted demands that the police commissioner, one of the city’s most powerful public figures, immediately step down.

Dozens of community and religious leaders gathered on the steps of City Hall Thursday to call for the immediate resignation of both the commissioner and his top spokesperson. The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition convened the press conference following reports that NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and spokesperson Paul Browne had lied about the police department’s use of the video, which depicts Muslim Americans as “homegrown terrorists.”

“Not only did the NYPD show this film to 1,500 officers, but Commissioner Kelly participated in its making,” said Amna Akbar, a member of the Civil Liberties Coalition and a law professor at the City University of New York. “But it does not stop there, either. Commissioner Kelly lied about his part in the production of that film.”

Last year, the Village Voice’s Tom Robbins broke the story about the video. A police officer who viewed the film during a training session told Robbins, “It just made Muslims look like the enemy. It was straight propaganda.”

Kelly appears in an interview for under a minute in the 72-minute film.

After Muslim community leaders objected to the video’s use last year, Kelly responded in a March 2011 letter, noting that the NYPD “did not participate in the production and we do not believe the content is appropriate for training purposes.”

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