NEW YORK, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today called on the New York Police Department (NYPD) to investigate how a notorious anti-Muslim propaganda film came to be used in mandatory counterterrorism training. CAIR-NY also called for new NYPD guidelines to ensure that officer training materials offer only unbiased information about any religious or minority community.
An article in today’s Village Voice newspaper said the film, titled “The Third Jihad,” is “a spectacularly offensive smear of American Muslims.” The article also states: “It is 72 minutes of gruesome footage of bombing carnage, frenzied crowds, burning American flags, flaming churches, and seething mullahs. All of this is sandwiched between a collection of somber talking heads informing us that, while we were sleeping, the international Islamist Jihad that wrought these horrors has set up shop here and is quietly going about its deadly business.”
Police officials now say the “wacky movie” should never have been shown to officers. “It was reviewed and found to be inappropriate,” said an NYPD official. One officer who viewed the film called it “straight propaganda.”
“Our nation’s battle against terrorism is only made more difficult whenever security officers are taught to view all Muslims, and the faith of Islam itself, with suspicion,” said CAIR-NY Board President Zead Ramadan. “We call on Commissioner Kelly to order an internal probe of how this propaganda film came to be used and to put policies in place to ensure that NYPD training is not biased by agenda-driven materials — or trainers — targeting any religious or minority community.” CAIR-NY is requesting a meeting with NYPD officials to discuss these concerns and move toward a solution.
Ramadan compared “The Third Jihad” to past propaganda such as the Nazi-era film “Triumph of the Will” or “Birth of a Nation,” which vilified African-Americans.
Earlier this week, CAIR asked the Defense Department not to use anti-Muslim extremists to train military personnel. That request came after Robert Spencer, one of the nation’s most notorious Islamophobes, published a post on his blog claiming he trained members of the “military intelligence community.” The insignia in the photographs Spencer posted on his hate site appear to correspond to those of the 149th Brigade of the 35th Infantry Division based in Louisville, Ky.
The independent national media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) identified Spencer as one of “Islamophobia’s Dirty Dozen” who systematically “spread fear, bigotry, and misinformation.” In its report, FAIR said, “By selectively ignoring inconvenient Islamic texts and commentaries, Spencer concludes that Islam is innately extremist and violent.”
A coalition of Muslim, Sikh, Asian-American, and other civil liberties groups recently called on FBI Director Robert Mueller to explain why Spencer was invited to train state and federal law enforcement officers. The letter noted that Spencer has referred to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a “con man.”
CAIR made a similar request of counterterrorism and military leaders not to employ Muslim-bashers as trainers following a Washington Post investigative report on post-9/11 government surveillance, which stated: “Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies.”
Last year, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) acknowledged that an anti-Islam film should not have been used in training offered to security personnel by that military law enforcement agency. CAIR contacted NCIS after receiving a report that a three-day NCIS surveillance detection course at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., included the viewing of a propagandistic anti-Islam film.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick, 212-870-2002, or 203-206-6883, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org