Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A letter from MPAC director to the Muslim community

As some Muslamics readers commented, let's keep the focus on the LAPD project and coming up with a wise, strong, united response to the situation.

Dear Friends,

As-salaamu alaykum. Last week, the Los Angeles Times published several articles regarding the Los Angeles Policy Department's recent announcement that they will be initiating a project which will essentially "map" Muslims in the Southern California area.

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify our position to you directly:

- MPAC does not support, nor has agreed to work with the LAPD on a "mapping" program. Deputy Chief Mike Downing misrepresented MPAC's position in his comments to the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 9th which stated that MPAC "embraced the program 'in concept'." This is simply not true. We have at no point embraced, supported or otherwise signed onto this vaguely defined proposed program.

- MPAC strongly opposes, and will work against any "mapping," profiling, or singling out of Muslims or any other community that could essentially be used by the LAPD's counterterrorism division to violate our privacy, civil liberties, and human rights.

- MPAC is committed to working with decision makers directly to get better decisions made -- be they in government, Congress, the media, interfaith, or Muslim community circles. We stand in defense of the Constitution and our core values as Muslim Americans.

- I, along with other Southern California Muslim leaders, will attend a meeting with LAPD officials on Thursday, November 15 to see complete information and to critically review the proposal before making any assessments or recommendations.

Thank you to all those who have contacted us with your comments, your feedback, and your concerns. We are seriously reviewing the known aspects of this so-called "mapping" plan and will issue our full assessment publicly after Thursday's meeting.


Salam Al Marayati

Executive Director,
Muslim Public Affairs Council


Zahra Billoo said...

I strongly disagree. Why do we sell ourselves short? Why can't we have several focuses?

Given MPAC's initial shaky and somewhat submissive stance at first, the community had every right to hold them accountable for it.

Mind you, MPAC issued it's strongest statements against the plan only AFTER the community furor that arose after the email campaign on Monday.

Let's focus on the LAPD. Let's focus on USC. But let's not let our confused understandings of adab and unity undermine our responsibility to remind MPAC of who they are supposed to be serving.

Alhamdulillah for their new RELATIVELY stronger stance. But based on what was said on their student conference call on Monday evening and reports about their not wanting to work so closely with the ACLU, I'd say the community still has some reminding to do.

Affad Shaikh said...

its seems that we are back to construction- to working with the LAPD- I do not ever remember holding them accountable for their misdeeds/misteps or making any assurances that the right steps were taken?

I also had a chance to listen to the KCRW radio broadcast referenced in some of the latest propaganda (to harsh? I only use it because I can think of any other word, until then my limited vocabulary will have to suffice with this use), did not even mention Downing saying that the program is scrapped, rather he might have said that when he went off line?

Whats funny now, is that we are back at square one. We have an LAPD that doesn't understand the community- why we are upset, why we are angry, why we are disappointed- rather we are in a situation to discuss "constructively". I feel like i am being forced into an ugly situation when my will power tells me otherwise.

I call on everyone to support the ACLU in its request to get Public Request Act on the LAPD- so that we have every single Memo, every single document, and every single note regarding this issue. I want to know what EXACTLY happened from the horses mouth, not some third entity. I want to know where things stood, who this community partner was, academic institution involvement.

This is an outrage that just doesn't disappear once chief downing dismisses it haphazardly.