The American Islamic Leadership Coalition joined Republican Congressman Peter King today at 1 Police Plaza to voice their support for the NYPD and to address recent controversies involving its counterterrorism policies. Today's press conference came on the heels of a scathing New York Times editorial published this Saturday that addressed some 40 investigative reports from the Associated Press on the NYPD’s monitoring and surveillance of Muslim citizens in and around the tri-state area.
The Times piece questioned the legality of the actions taken by the NYPD and "whether alienating innocent Muslims is a smart or decent strategy." It's clear the Times' editorial board is on the side of civil liberties, but from what we saw at this morning's press conference, not all American Muslims agree. Some contend that the outrage over the AP's series on the NYPD will only serve to radicalize the Muslim community, and they insisted it was not up to the media to determine what's best for their community. As Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, declared, "We are Muslims. We never gave you the right to speak on our behalf."
"I am not a victim!" shouted Tarek Fatah, Founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and a proud supporter of the NYPD's investigations into the Muslims Student Association. The fight, he said, is between Islam and Islamism, and those who "undermine" the NYPD are not helping the cause, only antagonizing existing extremists. And Manda Zand Ervin, Founder of the Alliance for Iranian Women, said she was grateful for the NYPD's protection. She thanked New York law enforcers for saving women from violence regardless of politics, religion, and ideology.
Representative King told reporters that the NYPD had become a target for those who sympathize with Islamic ideology, and that certain media outlets have allowed themselves to become "unindicted co-conspirators." These "left-wing rumor mongers," as King put it, are perpetuating extremism and not paying attention to the facts. The NYPD is "protecting Muslims from evil people within their communities" and "no one is doing more to stop terrorism than the NYPD," said King, who argued that the NYPD would be criminally negligent to not take aggressive and preemptive measures.