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Four Myths that Led to the NYPD’s Attack on Muslim Civil Liberties

Daniel Tutt

Daniel Tutt

(Via IslamophobiaToday)

Four Myths that Led to the NYPD’s Attack on Muslim Civil Liberties

by Daniel Tutt, Bio

Over the last month, multiple scandals have leaked that show the extent to which the NYPD has violated the civil liberties of thousands of New York Muslims under the banner of counterterrorism efforts. Protecting the homeland must remain central in all of our policing and intelligence-gathering efforts, but it should not, and does not have to result in the alienation of hundreds of thousands of New York Muslims. Equally important, counterterrorism efforts must operate on sound and factual analysis of the threat posed by the Muslim community, and collaboration with Muslim community leaders and citizens should be a top priority.

The damage that these scandals have caused in severing the lines of trust between law enforcement and the Muslim community may be irreparable in the short term, but it is not too late for the NYPD to begin assessing the policies that led us to where we are today.

In a recently exposed white paper published by the NYPD entitled, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” we find the basis of an entire philosophy of counterterrorism that operates on several myths that must be addressed.

Let’s examine each of these myths in turn.

1. Extremist Muslims have permeated New York Muslim communities. The white paper states:

“New York City has a diverse Muslim population of between 600,000 and 750,000 within a population of about 8 ½ million–about 40% of whom are foreign-born. Unfortunately, extremists who have and continue to sow the seeds of radicalization have permeated the City’s Muslim communities.”

To suggest that the Muslim community of New York is being overran with violent extremism is far from the truth. The New York Muslim community makes up an estimated 1 million people throughout the entire state. The community has incredible racial, socioeconomic, and ethnic diversity, and is very well integrated into the larger society.

The threat this community poses is similar to the threat that American Muslims pose nationwide: very little to none. Since 9/11, over 40% of the cases where criminal charges were brought upon an American Muslim for suspicion in a terrorism related case, the Muslim community was responsible for turning that individual, or individuals, over to the authorities. Muslims see counterterrorism as their duty according to recent public opinion polls, and they are more concerned about preventing terrorism then are the rest of the non-Muslim American public per capita. Don’t we want to increase this trend of Muslims serving on the front line of counterterrorism efforts? Increasing it has the dual benefit of making Muslims an integral part of the solution, and making them feel like a valued collaborator in the war on terrorism.

According to the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s comprehensive terrorism database, of the 49 Muslim domestic and foreign based plots against the U.S. since 9/11 – there were over 105 terrorist plots from non-Muslim groups and individuals – nearly 1 in 3 of these plots were turned over to the authorities by the American Muslim community.

2. A Muslim’s level of religiosity is a sign of radicalization and support for terrorism. The second myth that the document supports is the so called “conveyor belt theory” of terrorism, which argues that terrorism is based on a continuum of religiosity, where the more religious a Muslim gets, the greater likeliness they may adopt violent extremism. This is a major misnomer that has unfortunately been taught to hundreds of thousands of police and intelligence agents nationwide as exposed in a recent investigative report by Political Research Associates entitled Manufacturing the Muslim Menace.

The white paper describes the ideology that supports terrorism as “jihadi-Salafi Islam” but never defines these terms, especially what they mean for Muslims. Instead, they exaggerate what a “Salafi Muslim” is, and neglect to point out that the majority of Salafi Muslims in western Europe and in America are not in favor of using violence and are generally peaceful. It also refuses to look at competing studies of radicalization. For example, Quintan Wiktorowicz, National Security Agency Director learned in anextensive empirical research project he headed up on radicalization of Muslim youth, that there is no correlation between religiosity and a willingness to become radicalized. In other words, the more religious Muslims became, the less likely they would be to join radical movements.

Wiktorowicz insight supports what Policy Analyst Alejandro Beutel has recently discovered in his careful analysis of Osama bin-Laden’s recruitment rhetoric. In a careful analysis of the content of each lecture that bin-Laden gave, MPAC discovered that al-Qaeda’s recruiting “pitch” was overwhelmingly political/policy-oriented, not religious.

Let’s be realistic. The threat from al-Qaeda is concerning. Despite the controversial nature of his assassination, Anwar Awlaki’s death and disappearance from the scene is a welcoming sign in the ongoing recruitment that Al-Qaeda is attempting, mainly online, to American Muslims. The fact that we no longer have a charismatic, English speaking figurehead of al-Qaeda to brainwash American Muslims to commit acts of violence is a great thing. Awlaki’s model seemed to be fairly effective in turning about two-dozen American Muslims towards a commitment to violent radicalization against the west andAmerica in particular. Importantly, this was happening in anonymous chat rooms online, not in mosques, or mainstream religious institutions in America.

3. Profiling Muslims is possible and necessary. The third myth that the white paper supports is that Muslims must be profiled; suggesting not only is it necessary, but that it is possible. Here is an excerpt from the paper:

“Radicalization makes little noise. It borders on areas protected by the First and Fourth Amendments. It takes place over a long period of time. It therefore does not lend itself to a traditional criminal investigations approach.”

When we analyze the homegrown cases of Muslim terrorists since 9/11, we find vastly different ethnic origin, age, ideological affiliation, and motivations. While the policy grievance remains consistent in each case, the idea of profiling based on religiosity or the outward expression of religiosity is just plain wrong and nonsensical. Like we saw from Wiktorowicz’s research, religious Muslims should be seen as allies, as there is no empirical relationship between religiosity and support for terrorism.

4. Muslim community leaders and citizens do not need to be consulted in counterterrorism efforts. Nowhere in the 90 plus page report do we find details or best practices for policymakers and intelligence officers in building partnerships with New York Muslims.

In an ironic way, the controversies coming out of the NYPD, while they hurt the relationship between Muslims and law enforcement, they help engage Muslims in the political process and in speaking up for their rights. The New York Muslim community is fed up, and many point to the rising trend of Islamophobia as the cause for this wanton disregard for Muslim civil liberties.

One of the key recommendations that Charles Kurzman, a leading expert on Muslim radicalization of the Triangle Center for Terrorism Research proposes is that Muslim Americans be given the means to express themselves politically in American society. The fight against Islamophobia as a healthy way for Muslim Americans to stand up for their rights and in the process demand equal respect. Like the civil rights movement for Black Americans, many politically engaged Muslims feel that the fight against bigotry and misunderstanding of their faith will result in a greater level of integration into the American experience.

From 2005 to 2011 we have witnessed an increase in the so-called “lone wolf” phenomenon of extremism – an isolated individual becomes indoctrinated by a charismatic pseudo religious leader and seeks to act out violence against the American populace. Thankfully, this threat is relatively minor, and unfortunately often caused by FBI entrapment.

What we have not yet seen is the climate of growing Islamophobia serving as the cause for a lone wolf attack on America, or even the turn to radicalization itself. Since it is always best to be ahead of the storm, we must encourage large-scale movements against Islamophobia because they help to further a healthy civic alternative to American Muslims that are somewhat prone to lunatic false prophets on YouTube like Anwar Awlaki. It is through fighting Islamophobia and standing up for civil rights that we can create a vehicle whereby Muslims can vent their anger and develop a new language that ties the values of Islam to a unique American and democratic narrative. This sort of action has already begun, and when scandals emerge like these, Muslim Americans should be vocal and demand justice.

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  • Jeff

    Like I said to David, I never said I believed them. I was presenting them as examples. What I didn’t accept was David’s answer as to why they weren’t legitimate. Anyway, no big deal. Perhaps I should have better presented my intentions. Wasn’t my goal to assault Muslims. I’m sure, or at least I hope, everyone realizes that by now. Just looking for answers.

  • Benjamin Taghiov


    I don’t know if we really had any real conversational brawls? I might have said that you were gullible. No offense though. : )

  • Jeff

    Ilisha, Benjamin, Jack:

    Thanks for your responses. Just an opinion, give people the benefit of doubt from the start. To be honest, I was about to give up. I know you probably deal with this all the time and I’m sure it gets old. But I seriously doubt most people will stick with it as long as I have.

    Jack, I’ll read over you thoughts. Believe me I know about having little time. If you get the chance to provide sources it will greatly appreciated.

    Benjamin, I’ll check out the links and thanks.

    Ilisha, what else can I say? You’re cool.

    A lot to process people and I’m sure I’ll have more questions. I hope you don’t lose interest. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  • Jeff, I apologize that you were treated a little harshly… as has been said there are a lot of trolls who simply come to make a fuss and then leave half way through when their ‘facts’ become disputed. Regardless, in answer to your questions:

    “Question 1. Where is the data showing it was Muslims who turned the Muslims over to the authorities? Fine, the poll shows they feel counter terror is their duty. But if you write an opinion piece you need to support what you say. Saying and doing is two different things.”

    Much of that sort of data is, for obvious reasons such as witness protection or anonymous tips, not available publicly. However, law enforcement the world over has acknowledged the fact, there are plenty of articles online and I will post some if you like.

    “2. The Muslim Brotherhood, on their website, speak of culture jihad. If Muslims truly want to integrate into a foreign society then why the need for Sharia courts and no kuffar areas as they now have in England? And wasn’t it the Muslims rioting in London in 2009?”

    The Muslim Brotherhood? Why are they relevant here? They are not some sort of master control network you know… I for one don’t really like them and I think that many agree with me on that.

    On integration, why when a person ingratiates must they throw away everything? Is it not just and right that someone be able to keep things close to them that identify them and so on? As for ‘no kuffar areas’, they are a myth that was propagated by Islam4UK (a small group of less than 40 layabouts who love causing trouble) posting up some ‘Islam Zone’ style stickers. Sharia courts are likewise a none issue as they exist within various nations legal framework.

    Finally riots in London? There have been many riots in London that have nothing to do with Muslims! Why don’t you take a look at the most recent London riots in 2011 (which might I add spread to several cities)? It is unfair to point out one group and ignore the others. I’ll add that during that riot a number of Muslims were killed while defending their property (hand in hand with Sikhs as it happens) which wonderful groups like the EDL were very happy with…

    “3. A Muslim is just arrested in DC thinking he had an explosive vest, Underwear bomber, the Muslims recently arrested for plotting terror attacks in England, and no need for profiling?”

    Profiling is a sham and achieves nothing. I am a Muslim and I happen to be a ‘white European’, how do you profile me? And what is to stop terrorists adopting through a variety of means (surgery, makeup and so on) a ‘non-Muslim’ appearance? Just what does a Muslim look like anyway!

    Regardless, profiling is an inefficient tool that causes more harm than good though it makes people ‘feel better’. Far more effective is to ask the Muslim community for help that to single out ‘Muslim looking’ individuals for any reason.

    “4. Why does law enforcement have to consult Muslims about anything?”

    Because if law enforcement cares about cutting crime and so on it must be at one with the community. As Robert Peel, the father of the modern police force, stated:

    “The police are the public and the public are the police.”

    Failure to take heed to this basic principle of policing and instead harm relations with communities via heavy handed methods will lead only to an increase in problems.

    I am very sorry I cannot link very much in my above post or go into detail on your points; there is a link limit and a lack of time on my half. However if you want to expand on anything written then I’m happy to do so.


  • Benjamin Taghiov

    Hey Jeff,

    People have irrational fear of muslims because of propaganda. Some people of muslim faith or origin may very well be acting unsavoury and at times outrightly vicious. These isolated events must be disaggregated and redressed, no doubt. But to further dissociate certain groups of people based on creed, color or ethnicity, just because some are acting in a way that isn’t civil. That is just wrong.

    People who claim to belong to a cultivated society should do everything to promote tolerance and to exhort verdant and backward cultures into progression. If they are not understanding, and they do not work for the advancement of civilization, but instead decelerate societal evolution: then they are exactly as bad as the people they are questioning (or even more so). Do not use your cultural advantage to spearhead hate against the weak.

  • Jeff

    Hey Benjamin, where did you get the info on the clip so I can check it out, and thanks for the info.

    David, I’m not sure why you accuse me of being a troll. I have been asking direct questions trying to get answers. My entire focus has been to ask Muslims why this stuff is out there and if it is not real, why do people have an irrational fear of Muslims.

    When I come to a place looking for a different perspective, and the only thing I get is sarcasm and rude remarks…..why would I want to bother with those people?

    This is a serious subject and one I am seeking real answers on. I’m trying to have a discussion with people who want to discuss why Islamophobia is wrong and what can be done to fix the problem.

    Ilisha is the only person who has returned my questions with respectful answers.

    And last thing David. I never said the videos were true. I have presented these things as questions. Why are there these videos and articles? What is happening around the world to make people feel this way? If the fear is baseless what can we do to fix the problem. You have yet to do this David. You keep referring to links from this website which is a biased point of view. There is nothing wrong with that. They can write whatever they want. But like I said David, for the purpose of our discussion, that would be like me using Gellar and Spencer links. We will never get anywhere that way. I’m trying to go outside the usual box for this argument. You can’t seem to do that David. Others here have shown they can. I don’t know how to say it any differently to help you understand.

  • Benjamin Taghiov


    The clip showing a woman being harassed in Malmö, Sweden, was part of a televized show called “The Secret Millionaire”, airing on Kanal 5. No where in the visuals or anywhere else for that matter, was the identity of the young thugs ever disclosed. Not to mention their religious affiliations (assuming they accredit themself a particular religious belief to begin with). All we know is that the woman, Salka Börjeson Eynon, went to Sofielund with the intentions of doing some charity work in a troubled fringe area (with a lot of poverty and low-income residents).

    The street she is visiting is called Rasmusgatan. For some time, the block has been terrorized by a gang of young hoodlums.

    Here’s a clip showing, what is claimed to be, some of the supposed “gang-members”, that has been menacing the area for some time. Also take notice of the Che Guevara coffeehouse situated in the midst of the Shariah oriented no-go zone:

    I guess the crooks belong to a branch of the Marxist Taliban? Honestly, this is ridiculous. Just because a video, posted by some random islamophobe, is called: “Sweden No-Go Zones Imposed By Muslims – The Beginning Of Islamic War On Europe – Wake Up!” doesn’t automatically make it true. This is pure agitprops: and you are gullible.

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    Have you ever considered a job in the entertainment field ?
    I hear there is a worldwide shortage of comedians.
    I suggested a couple of places on this site you could look for a start , if you had bothered to look instead of being a troll you would have discovered lots of links all over the web , your reply was to ask me to prove a negative . How can I prove what isnt there ? Its like how can I prove the Pope is not a catholic ?
    You are the one who said they were Kafar free zones, the ball is in your court ( looks like you dropped it ) its your yet unproven hypothosis.
    I thought the idea that people like me are to blame for your irrational fear of muslims very amusing . I am sure you are a big boy and can be responcible for your own opinions to suggest otherwise is very childish.
    ‘ you could have shown me the Law in print ‘ is a very odd turn of phrase . I wonder if it reflects a very simplistic world view .

  • Jeff

    Thanks Ilisha. I’ll check the links out and I appreciate the response.

    David, lets see if I can break it down in a simple way…..

    People like you are a big reason Islamophobia exist. Lets say I have counterfeit money. Its a type of currency I have never seen. I don’t know its counterfeit. Everything I read and see on TV says its real. You come along and say that its not real. I say how do you mean, it looks exactly like everyone says. You tell me I’m wrong and I’m trying to disrupt the market with my counterfeit money. David, you could be 100% right and I would never believe you because you never went beyond telling me your opinion. You could have shown me the law in print. You could have referred me to someone who knew what they are talking about.

    I showed you three videos. You said none of them are true. Fine. Never did you provide anything showing there were not any non-muslim areas in Europe. You gave me whole lot of what you thought. I provide an article. You tell me it’s no good. Never provide any counter argument or sources other than a whole lot of what you think. I read your first link but after that why should I read anything you give me if can’t give a intelligent response to what I give you.

    I said to myself fine lets forget links. I ask you a simple question and you have yet to answer it. You see Ilisha sent me that info from Time magazine. I didn’t know that and now I do.

    David, I’m done with you now. I sincerely hope if you have Muslim friends they don’t have to rely on you to defend their faith. With the responses you’ve given me no wonder Islamophobia exist.

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    What facts other than hysteria have you presented ?
    Where are those kafar free zones in England you talked about ?
    Have you read the thread I pointed out to you ? ( I assume no )
    You asked for facts I suggested where you could read some , you did not bother and now are begining to sound like a record stuck in a grove ( a record is a type of music storage device popular before CDs) 😉

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