But I'm guessing that there will be many more claims like that by the time I make my next regularly-scheduled post. Maybe even headlines like that. And, the people making the claims will be serious.
The LA Times ran a story, "LAPD to build data on Muslim areas," with this lead paragraph:
"An extensive mapping program launched by the LAPD's anti-terrorism bureau to identify Muslim enclaves across the city sparked outrage Thursday from some Islamic groups and civil libertarians, who denounced the effort as an exercise in racial and religious profiling."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is already at work, as are other Muslim civil rights groups. CAIR's take is, that finding out where Muslim neighborhood are "basically turns the LAPD officers into religious political analysts, while their role is to fight crime and enforce the laws."
The LAPD is doing this mapping program, because there's a good chance that Muslim terrorists may, according to an FBI report, attack shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago over the holiday season.
And, the LAPD doesn't want that to happen.
Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing says that "We want to map the locations of these closed, vulnerable communities, and in partnership with these communities . . . help [weave] these enclaves into the fabric of the larger society," in testimony to Congress October 30. "To do this, we need to go into the community and get to know peoples' names," he said. "We need to walk into homes, neighborhoods, mosques and businesses," he also said.
At least one Muslim group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), isn't exhibiting knee-jerk behavior. MPAC's executive director, Salam Al-Marayati, said that his group wanted to know more about the plan, and plans to meet with the LAPD next week. "We will work with the LAPD and give them input, while at the same time making sure that people's civil liberties are protected," he said. Al-Marayati also commended Downing for being "very forthright in his engagement with the Muslim community."
I'm accustomed to CAIR hitting the ground yelling, without letting facts get in the way. It's an excellent way to get attention, and helps maintain an impression that Muslims are oppressed by Islamophobic infidels.
However, I think that, based on what we've seen so far, what the LAPD is doing makes sense.
Let's take a hypothetical situation. If this sounds familiar, this is the third time I've used my (fictional) Scandinavian Lutheran Terrorists. In this alternate reality, blond giants have been blowing up people in a Ragnarokathon. These Scandinavian Lutherans feel that western culture don't appreciate lutefisk and lefse enough. See:
- "T-Shirt Story 2: Civil Rights vs Common Sense"
(August 13, 2007)
- "Minnesota Imams Change Lawsuit Hit List"
(August 1, 2007)
But then, I'm one of those people who don't think that all Muslims are terrorists.
Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.