Last January investigative journalist Tom Robbins broke the story of how the NYPD endorsed the scaremongering Islamophobic documentary The Third Jihad. The film was funded by the pro-Israel non-profit group The Clarion Fund, and it contends that few, if any, Muslims can be trusted. "Americans are being told that most of the mainstream Muslim groups are moderate," says the narrator, "when in fact if you look a little closer you'll see a very different reality. One of their primary tactics is deception." Newly released documents show the NYPD knows a thing or two about deception as well!
When Robbins's story appeared in the Village Voice, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne initially said no cops had watched what he described as a "wacky movie." Later, he said it had only been shown "a couple of times when officers were filling out paperwork before the actual coursework began. It was not approved for the curriculum. It's not shown for any purpose now." But one officer told the Voice his instructor "introduced it with a warning that some people found it offensive."
And now, after months and months of stonewalling, The Brennan Center for Justice has forced the NYPD to release documents [below] relating to the documentary, and it turns out The Third Jihad was shown "on a continuous loop" during "the sign-in, medical and administrative orientation process." It's unclear how long the loop ran—the Times speculates it was shown for anywhere between three months and one year of training. But internal NYPD documents confirm that the film was screened for 68 lieutenants, 159 sergeants, 31 detectives and 1,231 patrol officers.
The film also includes excerpts from an interview with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Browne maintains the interview segments were lifted from a previous interview with Kelly and used without his permission, but the department has no plans to ask The Third Jihad filmmakers to remove it. The NYPD also has no plans to "correct any false impressions the movie might have left behind," the Times reports.
One of the cops who first informed Robbins about the film said at the time, "It was so ridiculously one-sided. It just made Muslims look like the enemy. It was straight propaganda." And Faiza Patel, a director at The Brennan Center, is also disturbed that the NYPD has proved so unwilling to make documents public. "It suggests a broader problem that they refuse to divulge this information much less to discuss it," Patel tells the Times. "The training of the world’s largest city police force is an important question."