NY Muslim Coalition to Boycott NYPD 'Pre-Ramadan Conference'
(NEW YORK, NY, 7/10/12) - A broad-based coalition* of Muslim community organizations, religious leaders and civil rights advocates announced tonight that they will boycott an annual NYPD function, citing lack of transparency, accountability and respect.
The NYPD event, billed the "Police Department's Annual Pre-Ramadan Conference"in a letter to community leaders from Chief Philip Banks, is scheduled to take place on Wednesday morning (July 11).
The announcement of a boycott comes in the wake of the Associated Press Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the NYPD's covert program of warrantless and comprehensive surveillance of American Muslim communities across the northeastern United States, including mosques, restaurants, businesses, and student groups.
Muslim community leadership has faced a wall of silence from the NYPD since revelations that the NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly gave an exclusive 90-minute interview to producers of the anti-Muslim propaganda film "The Third Jihad," and then denied both his role in the film as well as the extent to which the film had been used in NYPD counterterrorism training sessions. The film was played on a loop for several months, reaching more than 1500 officers.
At last year's NYPD pre-Ramadan event in July, Commissioner Kelly tried to dismiss claims that the film was used multiple times, and rejected offers of meaningful input from Muslim leadership. The NY Times caught Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne in several misstatements of fact in January of this year.
SEE: NY Times: In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims
NY Times: In Shift, Police Say Leader Helped With Anti-Islam Film and Now Regrets It
Prominent academic Dr. John Esposito of Georgetown University also rejected an invitation to speak at the police event. His office offered the following explanation:"Esposito declined after his review and conclusion that the mayor and police commissioner's defense of NYPD's surveillance policy fails to distinguish between surveillance with probable cause of specific individuals or groups and the threat to and violation of the civil liberties of the mainstream majority of Muslims."
The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition noted that the NYPD has repeatedly refused to meet with community leaders, and declined an invitation to a town hall that would create space for a discussion of the NYPD's discriminatory policies. MACLC advocates for accountability and oversight in curbing civil and human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies, and encourages the New York city and state governments to pass proposed bills mandating an independent Inspector General position over the NYPD.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick, text/call: 203-206-6883, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; MACLC blog
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