Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In Whose Interest? LAPD's Muslim Mapping Project- What you need to know.

It all began with the testimony given to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security's and Governmental Affairs on October 30, 2007- here by Micheal Downing the Deputy Chief in charge of Counter-Terrorism/Criminal Intelligence Bureau at LAPD.
  1. Immediate Los Angeles Times Article on the issue on Oct. 31, 2001
  2. Congressional Quarterly Article on the issue which was forwarded by MPAC to its listserv- "Los Angeles Police, Muslim Group on Same Page With Mapping Plan" by Daniel Fowler which unfortunately is subscription based. (found on MPAC email, update 11/09/07)
  3. Daily KOS puts out this release of a letter sent to LAPD, Mayor V and Jack Weiss by the ACLU, Shura Council, Muslim Advocates and CAIR. (originally added on 11/09/07) The letter is here (updated 11/13/07)
  4. The New York Times comes out with this report on November 9th, 2007.
  5. USA Today also does an article.
  6. LA Times follows up with another article (updated 11/09/07) on Community dissent building against proposed plan.
  7. MPAC releases a Press Release for an immediate PRESS CONFERENCE Stating: "MPAC unequivocally opposes any profiling on ethnicity or religion as counter to American legal principles and federal law enforcement guidelines. At the same time, MPAC remains committed to fostering engagement and dialogue between law enforcement and the Muslim community...has not taken a position on the proposed program" (updated/received 11/09/07 12:26 PM, this was for 12PM)
  8. The Pakistani and Iranian communities are at risk for Radicalization, according to Downing- read it here. (updated 11/09/07 320PM)
  9. Mayor V says "police department has good intention" lets map them here at the LA Times follow up article (updated 11/09/07 327PM).
  10. Shura Council posted a special advisory to the Muslim community where they request your feedback on the program- see here. (updated 11/09/07 400pm)
  11. Downing has done it now- the Muslim Hysteria builds as John and Ken radio show are requesting vigilante citizens to call in and report where Muslims hang out so that they can report it to LAPD- now we can just wait until some crazy guy pulls up and starts shooting people. (updated 11/09/07 410pm)
  12. Buzzing with updates- CAIR sends a Press Release out. Hussam Ayloush says “Based on statements of those involved, it is clear that the ‘mapping’ project would target the Muslim community based not on any suspicious criminal activities, but rather on the basis of legitimate religious and political views protected by the First Amendment,” (updated 11/09/07 440pm)
  13. Hussam Ayloush on CNN discussing LAPD Mapping:

    (Updated 11/09/07 6:39pm)
  14. Affad (Assad) Shaikh on We The People Radio Station discussing in depth how the community sees this issue and what their concerns are. (updated 11/11/07)
  15. IECOC issues a statement opposing the Mapping of the Muslim community- read here. IECOC is a local, national and international player in the Muslim community and a major American institute for Shia Muslims. (updated 11/12/07)
  16. Sheikh Suhaib Webb's blog has a very interesting post on the Muslim Mapping- the post opposes any such LAPD plan on the premises and in practice. (Updated 11/12/07 120pm)
  17. MPAC releases a press statement saying: "Amid news reports that mischaracterized MPAC's position on a proposed Los Angeles Police Department "mapping" plan, the Muslim Public Affairs Council sent a letter today to LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing expressing deep concerns regarding misrepresentation and quotes attributed to LAPD officials." (To me it seems this came on the heels of a strongly worded statement sent out to the Muslim community by a community activist questioning MPAC's position and asking for a definite clarification of the issue.) (Updated 11/12/07 146pm)
  18. Bill Boyarsky over at LA Observed wrote up a very interesting piece about how Mayor V is caught in the middle of bad situation.
  19. AMAZING- Two LA Times Editorials (one a LAT Editorial and the other a column denouncing the mapping of the Muslim community and calling for immediate scrapping) If you can not read all the things, MAKE SURE YOU READ THIS!!! Enjoy the Editorial and Column and two letters to the Editors from NON MUSLIMS. (did you send a letter, did it not get published forward it or post it as a comment!) (Updated 11/13/07 149PM)
  20. NBC National News did a nice piece on the issue on 11/10/07- Hussam Ayloush along with Dr. Mahar Hathout of MPAC were featured- however, note that the issue is about "racial profiling" not about shutting the program down, ONLY Ramona Ripston from ACLU alludes to such a stance (one that I agree with whole heartedly) (updated 11/13/07 634pm)
  21. Darn Liberals, screwing the country with their desire to protect our Civil Liberties and Rights, I mean what do these things do for America?- says Hussam Ayloush on Fox News: (Updated 11/13/07- 750pm)
  22. Its a petition, please sign it. (Updated 11/14/07- 202AM)
  23. Opposition continues to grow- Islamic Center of Irvine (outside of Los Angeles county, however with a sizable congregation that stretches into LA county) issued a press release expressing concerns to the LAPD mapping proposal, much like IECOC. (Updated 11/14/07- 202AM)
  24. MSA-West issues a Press Release asking for the withdrawal of the LAPD Mapping proposal and outlining how Students Free Speech will be affected by ambiguous terminology used by LAPD officials-read here. (Updated 11/14/07- 303AM)
  25. If Faux News can publicly say it then how am I supposed to believe that LAPD will not be internally doing these things to target my community?-
"The subject of the "interview" was the LAPD's recent foray into "Muslim mapping," a practice that is being called racial profiling by the ACLU. McCann and Friends disparage that idea and agree that while the term "mapping" might not be the best choice of words, the intent is to establish a network so that in the event of trouble (terrorism) local law has a starting point for investigating."
26. Interesting analysis over the Van Der Gaelien Gazette-

"Ok, now this is just plain weird. It’ll also - I am sure - remind some people of what a certain political organization did in a certain period, in a certain country. Not to Muslims but to a certain other group.

Although comparisons between what the Nazis did and what the LAPD wants to do are overdone, it is quite a troubling development, in my humble opinion. It’s none of the LAPD’s business where these people live. What matters is whether they break the law or not, just like other Americans."

27. Reported in the Long Beach Press Telegram, Sharaf Mowjood, Government Relations Coordinator for CAIR says that "People are concerned on the purposes this will be used for."

28. Other articles include the AP, UPI, LA Daily News, Press Telegram

For a complete analysis of the testimony and This American Muslims thoughts on this ill conceived plan by the LAPD which is in essence a racial/religious profiling program disguised to as an intelligence gathering situation go here.

UPDATE (11/09/07): What you can do if you are as outraged as many other community members are:

  • Write a letter to the news paper, keep it short keep it sweet and state your opposition to this project.
  • Write a letter to Council Member Jack Weiss's offices, Mayor V's office and Chief Bratton's LAPD office and state that you as an Angeleno or as a American or decent Human are distraught at this report and are in opposition to it.
  • Call up the three offices, which is the next step of activism. I can when I get some time post up for you the addresses and contact information for these people. Until then utilize google search engine- it does wonder.


Yesi King said...

wow! what bullshit! seriously. so out of curiousity what role is CAIR taking in this is or plans on taking? i cannot stress how seriously wrong and racist their plan is. even the points you said you sort of "agred on or understood" can easily be argued against. thanks for this post. can you keep us updated?

zelle’s said...

CAIR is unequivocally opposed to this project. Much like the NYPD report this is a project born out of the wrong premises and assumptions and places the LAPD in a role that is outside its scope.

What is horrendous about this whole this is that it doesnt even hide the fact that this is an intelligence gathering effort.

The Muslim community can be partners with law enforcement, as we already are and we can develop closer ties with law enforcement.

However, we will not just stand by and watch them do a social project/experiment on us nor will we be dissected and examined like some specimen.

thats my position- which is also CAIR's position.

Yesi King said...

thanks for lettin me know. so seriously though i am absolutely against this myself. will CAIR send out a newsletter about this as they usually do informing the larger Muslim community. Also, i seriously hope everyone else is opposed to this. i already know of many non-muslim organizations that oppose this as well including CopWatch. we need to organize against this.

zelle’s said...

if you know of organizations opposed to this, have them sign on to the letter that was sent. They can give us a call at 714-776-1847.

What people can do is go to their local mosques and hold town hall's to organize against this. Write up petitions saying that you will not allow the community to be treated like this. Gather grass roots support so that the Mayor and Bratton get a clear picture of where the mosques are so they don't mistake them to be terrorist training camps because it seems that is the assumption they have of all Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Man this is garbage! Its sad how the efforts to profile are getting more and more brazen.

And what the hell is wrong with MPAC?

From the AP report:

However, another group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is considering working with the LAPD on the project.

"We will work with the LAPD and give them input, while at the same time making sure that people's civil liberties are protected," said Salam al-Marayati, the council's executive director.

Yesi King said...

haha yeah i know i was about to post something in regards to MPAC. there really should be no cooperation from the Muslim commnunity. this is beyond racist and wrong on numerous levels. i wonder are they also mapping groups of individuals involved in anti-war movements or anarchist groups? the saddest thing is that in reality they want to use this "mapping" for alternative reasons such as incase there is another fake terrorist attack or incase they continue cutting down civil liberties and Americans get fed up and decide to revolt, they know exactly where to go to round up Muslims and place them in internment camps, which i hope everyone knows have already been built accross the U.S.

Zahra Mirnajafi said...

"... he said law enforcement agencies nationwide faced "a vicious, amorphous and unfamiliar adversary on our land"

O m g ...

Anonymous said...

Can any Muslims answer simple questions for me? Why is it in Saudi Arabia if someone wears a cross or a Star of David down a street they would get stoned to death? Heck, you are not even allowed in the county unless you’re on business. Or in Muslim countries if a women gets raped she gets disowned or a lot of times severely punished? Why do you complain about your civil rights in America when what we do here makes more logical sense then barbaric practices in Muslim countries? I use to work at an airport in college and whenever I had Muslims the women would be carrying all the bags and the line, a lot of times, would be held up because the men refused to help. You would have more supporters of your cause if Muslim groups would condemn "racist" policies by Muslims as well. I am not saying all Muslims are bad but maybe someone can enlighten me and show me a link where Mulims protest these actions

Anonymous said...

OUTRAGEOUS! I am completely disgusted by the LAPD's plans. This is yet another egregious attack on American's civil liberties in the name of the "war on terror", which is why we can't accept the government's rhetoric about terrorism--at all. Would anyone be down for organizing an emergency protest this week at the LAPD headquarters and or USC (since they are involved too)? Let me know. You can email me at

Happy Arab said...

I would trust MPAC more than the others, however, the AP report misrepresented MPAC's position.
Here's MPAC press release on the issue:
(Los Angeles - 11/12/07) – Amid news reports that mischaracterized MPAC's position on a proposed Los Angeles Police Department "mapping" plan, the Muslim Public Affairs Council sent a letter today to LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing expressing deep concerns regarding misrepresentation and quotes attributed to LAPD officials.

MPAC has not officially endorsed, supported or agreed to work with the LAPD on a proposed mapping program despite misleading information in a Nov. 9 Los Angeles Times article stating that "Downing added that the Muslim Public Affairs Council has embraced the vaguely defined program 'in concept.'"

MPAC believes the mapping proposal demonstrates the prevailing lack of understanding and knowledge of Islam and Muslims besieged in law enforcement and government policy circles. While opportunities that lead to interactions between such organizations can be instrumental in promoting understanding and respect, MPAC will NEVER endorse a policy, program or idea (not even "in concept") that violates the trust of our community or the principles of Islam. MPAC strongly opposes, and will defend against, any profiling program that singles out Muslims (or people of other faiths) for purposes of counterterrorism intelligence that violates our privacy, civil liberties and human rights.

On Friday, MPAC held a press conference in Los Angeles to clarify its position against profiling or any singling out of the Muslim community which could take place through this proposed LAPD program.

SEE: Video from MPAC Press Conference Responding to LAPD Mapping Reports (11/9/07)
[Note: Right click the text link and choose "Save As"] http://www.mpac. org/article. php?id=558

A meeting to discuss concerns regarding the LAPD proposal is scheduled for Nov. 15 between LAPD officials and Muslim leaders including CAIR-Greater LA, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the National Association of Muslim Lawyers and MPAC.

MPAC has a strong track record of initiating direct conversation with decision-makers in public life as well as between law enforcement officials and Muslim community leaders, organizations and imams. In such endeavors, MPAC has worked alongside other Muslim American organizations including CAIR and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, who share a commitment to promoting integration and opportunities for Muslim American involvement in public life.

Anonymous said...

Its funny how people are trying to make this into a "what MPAC is" and "what MPAC isn't" last time I checked this was an issue regarding LAPD and USC taking extraordinary steps against the interest of community engagement an trust building.

I suggest we keep the focus on such issues rather then discuss how MPAC is doing this, that or the other.

Anonymous said...

Dittobite, I agree with you that we must keep the focus on the LAPD as Muslims we must face the LAPD united on this issue. I think along with ACLU, CAIR, Shura,and the LA Times the LAPD no doubt has felt the heat. However, I am a firm believer in keeping our community organizations in check.

MPAC’s progression in language in their press-releases can not be ignored, this has caused the community to speculate, rightfully so. These organizations serve American Muslims therfore they must answer to the average Joe. MPAC and all these other organizations need to understand that just as they play the game with law enforcement agencies, plenty of times law enforcement is playing the same game. As Muslims more often than not we are ‘tokens’; if we fail to realize that at times we are just needed for a seal of approval, we might as well quit now.

Granted what has occurred has already been recorded by numerous media outlets; racial profiling is un-patriotic, it’s un-American, and unconstitutional. We need to vociferously let our community leaders (MPAC, CAIR, ADC etc) know that profiling can come in many forms, 'engagement,mapping' the end result is intelligence gathering.

Our leaders need to be reminded that yes we can partner with law enforcement, yes we are the protectors of our homeland, yes we believe in fighting terrorism, but we will NOT be token representative so community orgs & governmental agencies look good on paper. MPAC dropped the ball on this one, there is nothing un-Islamic about that, everyone & every organization makes mistakes. What is done is done, but we as Muslims living in America need to let them (i.e. community orgs and governmental agencies) know…that their fancy terminology and countless hours spent on partnership mean zilch if they impact the community is such negative ways!

Anonymous said...

Last I thought LAPD was trying to protect American's from terrorists who happen to use Islam as their motive - why don't we for once, stop fighting everything that the police, government, law enforcement, media, and others propose and HELP them. Islam is a religion of peace is it not? Can we not prove that once? MPAC, CAIR, and most Muslims who post anonymously are so ignorant and don't realize they are further alienate Muslims with each and every absurd challenge to everything American. Catch bees with honey not vinegar.

Umm Ibrahim said...

You can't protect America if you're acting Un-American.

Mapping presumes that an ENTIRE faith is more susceptible to violence. No doubt Muslims need to be part and parcel of the fabric of protecting our society, and they ARE. However it's difficult to work with those who think your innately susceptible to commit acts of terror because of your ethnicity & creed. When the LAPD truly believes that a Muslim is not prone to violence any more then Jack and Jill, that's when real partnership will begin.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the reminder - that what people should really be concerned with is the LAPD's project rather than what MPAC is or isn't doing. However, I have to express my disappointment with the community. I must say, it is a sad day when people in the community question the direction and intention of one of the most effective Muslim organizations in this country.

There are 2 if not more approaches to civil rights challenges we and other communities currently and will continue to face - either engage or disengage.

I'm just a student, but I receive MPAC emails regularly, and if you do too, you would recognize that it is an organization that has a philosophy of constructive engagement. So this so-called "progression" in MPAC's language is a bit naive, if you ask me. A statement from the MPAC director that reads: "We will work with the LAPD and give them input, while at the same time making sure that people's civil liberties are protected," does not suggest, as one person wrote, that MPAC "dropped the ball". The whole purpose "work with" (or really, engage) the LAPD is not just to protect this country, but to also protect our civil liberties, and that includes teh civil liberties of people outside the Muslim community by the way!!! If Muslims don't sit at the table to work this out, others will, and they may not necessarily have the best of intentions!

When are we gonna learn how to stop reacting emotionally and start reading a bit closer, and start learning how to be a bit more sophisticated in our thought process? And if some of you haven't already realized, the "mapping" was killed only AFTER a meeting took place between the LAPD and a few organizations, including MPAC! I'm not saying all the credit goes to MPAC, but they also can't be ignored in teh equation.

It's one thing to be upset and react .. but EFFECTIVENESS through direct engagement, and yes that includes "working with", is a whole different ball game. So can we please learn to give these groups the benefit of the doubt and try to refrain from generating attacks against them, esp in the public domain?

~Aishah Schwartz said...