(/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/07/ly.jpg)A bi-partisan group of lawmakers including Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer are putting forward NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s name as a replacement for Janet Napolitano, who recently stepped down as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The Council on American-Islamic Relations sprang into action, as did its ally, the Interfaith Center of New York.
President Obama is openly considering Kelly for the position and it’s easy to see why. The Clinton administration is often credited with a huge decline in crime during its tenure, but the decline in New York City under Kelly is “twice as deep and has lasted twice as long.” Kelly writes that the number of shooting incidents has fallen to a two-decade low and the murder rate fell to a 50-year low in 2012 and has amazingly fallen another 29% since then.
The mere mention of Kelly’s name raises the temper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), another group with a history of pro-Islamist positions (though it did support the overthrow of Egyptian President Morsi). And therefore, CAIR’s interfaith friends are also upset.
On July 22, CAIR promoted an article that accuses Kelly of having a “dalliance with the Islamophobic fringes.” This was also the top subject of their newsletter. Two days later, a July 24 editorial was printed in the New York Daily News that depicts Kelly as a violator of civil liberties and a promoter of “negative Muslim stereotypes.” It was written by Rev. Chloe Breyer, the executive director of the Interfaith Center of New York and assistant priest at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Harlem.
Breyer’s Center was given a “Partners in Justice” Award from the New York chapter of CAIR on April 20. The award was given to Breyer by CAIR-NY board member Zead Ramadan, who has refused to condemn Hamas and spews anti-American propaganda on Iranian state television.
Breyer’s criticism of Kelly focuses on the NYPD’s intelligence-gathering on possible Islamist extremists and the NYPD’s screenings of The Third Jihad, a factual movie that he is interviewed in.
Breyer refers to the documentary as a “virulently anti-Muslim 2008 propaganda film,” even though it is narrated by a devout Muslim. The film exposes the Islamism of CAIR and its allies, so their ferocious reaction shouldn’t be surprising. The Clarion Project responded to the controversy with a video correcting the distortions in the media.
The NYPD’s opponents lashed out at the department’s surveillance operations, making it sound like officers are spying on every Muslim possible. Actually, Kelly explains, “As a matter of department policy, undercover officers and confidential informants do not enter a mosque unless they are followed up on a lead vetted[.]”
Breyer’s editorial mentions the NYPD’s monitoring of selected Muslim student groups. As I pointed out at the time, each group had a history of extremism. They were not looked at simply because they were Muslims.
Breyer specifically mentions the use of an informant inside a student organization at Hunter College. This happened because the group is a chapter of the Muslim Students Association, a group founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. This specific chapter was labeled in 2006 by the NYPD as one of six “MSAs of concern.”
Again, Kelly explains that NYPD officers attended public events and “when we have attended a private event organized by a student group, we’ve done so on the basis of a lead or investigation reviewed and authorized in writing at the highest levels of the department[.]”
Breyer cites a report that criticizes the NYPD for its surveillance of imams and Muslims that cooperated in counter-terrorism and “frequently appeared at the mayor’s side.” The case of Imam Reda Shata has been held up as proof of this apparent bigotry. Hailed as a “moderate,” he dined with Bloomberg. It turns out that the NYPD kept tabs on him because he expresses support for Hamas, specifically praising Palestinians that have carried out acts of violence.
Breyer references a lawsuit by targets of the NYPD’s surveillance. One of the six plantiffs is Masjid at-Taqwa, a Brooklyn mosque led by radical imam Siraj Wahhaj. He has expressed support for violence and implementing Sharia Law in America. In 2011, he told a large Muslim audience not to talk about Sharia because “we are not there yet.” No wonder the NYPD decided his mosque was worth looking at.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council also uses the NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” policies as part of its case against Kelly. The group says it has “raised serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights.”
The vision one gets from this description is of hordes of civilians being randomly searched by the police. In reality, the average is less than one stop per week for each officer. And, as Rich Lowy shows, many of the supposed cases of racism through “stop and frisk” mentioned in a class action lawsuit do not hold up to scrutiny.
Kelly argues that the hard facts warrant a greater investment in policing minority neighborhoods and that this is the opposite of racism.
In 2003, 90% of murder victims and 96% of shooting victims in New York City were black and Hispanic. The policies put in place, he says, saved the lives of at least 7,383 people and “if history is a guide, they are largely the lives of young men of color.” Mayor Bloomberg likewise says, “The numbers clearly show that the stops are generally proportionate with suspect’s descriptions.”
Kelly has been an ongoing adversary of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups and their allies. Over the past month, CAIR-NY and its interfaith allies have been going up against Kelly and New York City Mayor Bloomberg. They are aggressively supporting bills that would require oversight of the NYPD by an independent Inspector-General and open the door to lawsuits against the NYPD for its law enforcement policies. Bloomberg vetoed the legislation on July 23.
CAIR and its partners have tremendous influence in the White House and especially the Department of Homeland Security. Their offensive against Kelly’s possible nomination isn’t only about his policies in New York City; it’s about their influence in the U.S. government.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
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