Monday, November 12, 2007

Protest Greets Police Plan to Map Muslim Angelenos

by Neil MacFarquhar from The New York Times (US)

The objections started after Michael P. Downing, a deputy Los Angeles police chief who heads the counterterrorism bureau, testified before a United States Senate committee on Oct. 30 that the Police Department was combining forces with an unidentified academic institution and looking for a Muslim partner to carry out the mapping project. He emphasized that he wanted the process to be transparent. The idea, Mr. Downing said in an interview yesterday, would be to determine which communities might be having problems integrating into the larger society and thus might have members susceptible to carrying out attacks, much like domestic cells in England and elsewhere in Europe ... The groups were particularly angered that in his Senate testimony, Mr. Downing, discussing the possibility of Muslims’ radicalization, seemed to suggest looking at factors like exposure to the puritanical teachings of the Wahhabi sect, instability in countries of origin and where they get their news. He also suggested that the study would result in helping amplify the voice of Muslim moderates who could counter fanatics. “Who is going to decide who are the moderates?” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR for the Los Angeles area, who also signed the letter. “Are Muslims who criticize the war in Iraq moderate?”

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