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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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  • HGG

    I researched for a bit about those so called “Muslim No Go Zones” in Britain and I couldn’t find a single reference to a neighborhood or even street. The closest was this:

    Which seems more like a small group of idiots with little influence than an actual No Go zone.

  • Jeff

    Maybe you could point out where I said I have no facts as I’m waiting for you to refute what I’ve presented with something other than your opinion.

    I’ve said nothing of a leftwing alliance. That is your words. I’m not sure why YOU, in your words, can’t answer why, if without provocation, so many people have a negative view of Islam.

    I’m asking your opinion offering a chance to either change my mind or at least steer me toward a favorable view of Islam. If you are unwilling or unable let me know and I will seek my answers from a place other than this website and its readers.

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

    At least you admit you have no facts only opinion.
    Ok if you are really interested .
    This site is a good place to start .
    Read the thread entitled “All terrorists are Muslims ”
    Its full of facts from Interpol and the FBI that should help unless you believe they are part of the leftwing moslim allience .

  • Jeff

    Assuming you are correct and are more knowledge then me regarding the subject tell your opinion.

    If Muslims are doing no more wrong than any other culture or religion, why do so many peolple have a negative opinion of Islam.

    Did I say a list of secret sites? You haven’t accepted anything to this point. What will you accept?

    All you have offered is opinion about what you think. You offer nothing substantial to counter my opinion.

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

    By the way Jeff , I am not a muslim and am unsure by what you refer to as Muslim approved sites.
    Are you suggesting there is a list of secret sites only available to muslims or that a computor program can tell if you are a muslim and only let you sign in if you are one ?
    Get a life mate and open your eyes. There are good muslims and bad muslims just as there are good and bad in every religion.
    Find out where the real trouble comes from
    ( hint banks £££££ and the 1% ) You have been fooled by the money or are a paid shill. Which is it ?

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

    Are you trying to have a serious debate? I am not convinced .
    So far you have posted emotive propaganda on this site . Made grand claims about parts of England being kafar free ( not sure what that means ) but you have so far failed to produce any facts to support this odd claim other than opinions from such dubious sources as the Daily Mail .
    Its about facts .
    You accept that a report from 1997 first defined Islamaphobia therefore it is not a new phomina and has been about some time .
    Have you read the definition of Islamaphobia in the report ?
    Have you read the link I gave you?
    Obviously not

    QED you are not interested in a serious debate you are a troll:-)

    I see no point in repeating what has been said on other threads from this very site, put more elequently than I could say.
    Emotions are strong but logic and facts will win in the end

  • Jeff


    Can you or can you not explain why, if without provocation, all the sudden a large part of Western civilization views Islam as a threat and Islampohobia is so rampant.

    I’m trying to have a serious debate.

  • Jeff

    Got it. So far the best ideas anyone has to improve the image of Muslims and defeat Islamophobia is grammar check my post and not accept any of my sources. Think you can find anyone other than Loonwatchers to use as a source. Using Loonwatchers for your argument is like me trying to use Gellar or Spencer’s. We’ll never advance the argument that way.

    I did read the link. So research from 1997 applies to today how exactly.

    Since nothing I use works for you why don’t you give me your approved list of sources for non-muslims to use.

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

    the problem with the videos is there content . Its all emotion not facts its scare mongering. I am still waiting for you to tell me these areas that are kaffar free and you cannot ,epic fail as our american friends might say .
    You still have not shown you have read the link I gave .
    As for the Daily Fail……….. you expect to find sence from the paper that supported both Hitler and Melanie Phillips? Should stick to a real news paper . As for the crimes carried out by muslims I would suggest you read this link

    Remember its about facts

  • Kaylin (warning: sarcasm)


    You’re still an idiot, it’s ‘your’ not ‘you’re’. I will refrain from bothering to reply to somebody who cannot even do a simple grammar check. Ta-ta.

  • Jeff


    You dismissing the videos does not make them inaccurate. How do expect to expel Islamophobia if without base you dismiss everything people present? You saying that Muslims running rampant in Europe is not a problem doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist. Many Europeans would disagree with you.

    Something is happening to make Europeans think this way. What is it? All the sudden, without provocation the world is against Islam?

    If Muslims are against extemist Muslims committing violent Jihad, why are non Muslims berated when they bring up the subject? Are Muslims the only ones allowed to talk about Muslims? Muslims are quick to blame the west and specifically the U.S. for the violence being committed by Muslims without addressing the violence the Muslims carry out. These things fuel islamophobia.

  • juju

    @Daniel Tutt, good analysis. The ending gets a little mushy but it’s still good.

  • Saladin

    You guys should add Scott Atran’s research to this who showed that religious education is a negative predictor of violent extremism and that the Salalfis are pretty good at stopping extremist who have made up their mind.

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

    I looked at your links. They were not evidence they were emotive propaganda . Facts names and places are what are required . You have none it seems . A Bishop complaining that he has a smaller flock in the UK ,police complaining they cannot cope with criminal gangs in Germany and in sweden people getting angry being filmed
    As far as Islamaphobia firstly lets agree on a definition . Have you read the link I provided ?

  • Jeff

    Not sure how I was changing the subject. Maybe you could explain? Sorry about the other links. I think they were mobile links try these.

    If you’re saying I’m changing the subject by asking if anyone has reasonable solutions for Islamophobia can I assume you don’t have one?

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

    Sorry Jeff nice try at changing the subject but I tried the links and nothing worked .
    So why dont you tell me where these areas are in England .
    Or is it you are making things up .
    As for Islamaphobia I would suggest you read the origional Runnymead trust report into Islamaphobia .
    Here is the link

  • Jeff

    @Sir David

    Not just England Europe


    Got my info from Reuters and the Washington Post. Will those work? Tell you what, what news sources would you like me to use? Seeing you made a comment with nothing to back it up. The sources I used are about as opposite from Fox News as it gets.

    I’ll ask my question again. Does anyone have any solution to deal with Islamophobia other than calling people Islamophobes with out explaining why they are being Islamophobic?

  • BeukendaalMason

    There are several flaws in the “logic” used by the author of this article.

    1. Extremist Muslims have permeated New York Muslim communities.

    The opinion poll you use does not state “Muslims see counterterrorism as their duty”. I think you need to relook at the paper as it never asks the question. Other opinion polls given to Muslims in the US and abroad unfortunately show a different view point.

    It shows 22% of Muslims in the US approve of the use of suicide bombings. Not a majority (though 22% or 1 in 5 is very troubling), but it is also limited to a specific means of terror attack (suicide bombing) so it is not a good question to determine overall view point (maybe they dont mind non-suicide bombings). The big thing to remember is that while it is not a majority, is is still a fairly large minority and it only takes 19 to kill thousands…

    49 terror plots by Muslims vs 105 terror plots by all non-Muslim people. that means ~30% of terror plots were commited by ~1% of the US population vs ~60% from ~99% of the US population. That is a very unbalanced number of attempts. If Muslims were only as likely to plot terror attacks they should only have ~1% of the terror plots (approximately 1 to 3 terror plots, not 49!).

    I would suggest not using a Muslim organization solely for information. It would be like the world relying on the Nazis in the 1930 and 1940s on if there was a Holocaust. Harsh? Yes, but all during the Holocaust the Nazi government denied what they were doing to the world and yet encouraged and celebrated it between themselves.

    2. Muslim community leaders and citizens do not need to be consulted in counterterrorism efforts.

    Can you show me a athiest Arab who plotted a terror attack? Can you show me a liberal Muslim who plotted a terror attack? How many terror plots by Muslims were declared by them to be because of their religious views and how many were because… lets say they were “Anarchists” or another political ideology (and not political Islam)? I dont think I have seen a single one that was not based upon Islamic religious teachings (“kill the unbelievers”) or based upon political Islam (“the Great Satan US is stopping Islam from dominating the world…and from allowing us to kill all of the Jews”).

    3. Profiling Muslims is possible and necessary.

    Yup, just as law enforcement did with White Supremists (sp?) and Nazi’s. Although Muslims are not a single ethnic origin they are all the same religious creed. One can trace which Mosques they attended and check to see if those Mosques promote violence. NYPD found when they checked literature at numerous Mosques that numerous supplied and supported violent Jihadist ideology. It is known that many of the 9/1 hijackers, Nadal Hassan (Fort Hood), and numerous other Muslim terrorists have attended the same Mosques and were members of the same organizations (Muslim Student Association?).

    There is a joke about when the US law enforcement was actively seeking White Supremists and their organizations. “How do you know there is a White Supremist meeting going on? An undercover ATF, undercover FBI, and an undercover State Police Officer are getting together.” This was stated because US law enfocement had so infiltrated White Supremist organizations that they out number the White Supremists (who were, and still are viewed as a threat). Since Muslims are still invloved a higher than average number of terror plots, its not a bad policy to actively (even agressively) monitor and research their activities (it wasnt “Racism” when it was done against White Supremists).

    4. Muslim community leaders and citizens do not need to be consulted in counterterrorism efforts.

    Far too many Muslim organizations (CAIR, MAS, ISNA, Holy Land Charities) and indivivuals (the Imam in NYC, ect) have been found to actively involved in or attempting to conceal terror activities. And when counterterrorism officials do consult some Muslims they are pilloried as doing something wrong. The movie “The Third Jihad” was shown to NYPD officers and its creator talked to them. The creator is a…. Muslim (a liberal one too)! It seems the only ones who decry the counterterrorism activities are those who end up being involved in them.

  • mjasghar

    the guy in the vest was turned into a would be bomber by the FBI themselves
    Try looking somewhere other than FOX news for your info

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

    please tell me where the no kuffar areas are in England ?
    Or are you tlling lies .

  • Jeff


    I don’t need to email anything. It’s the authors responsibility to back his article with sources. Pretty basic journalism.

    Say whatever you like, you’re sarcasm doesn’t change the fact of Muslim behavior in Europe. It’s well documented in print, photo and video. And seriously, all the crazy Germanics and black people are killing people in the name their god right?

    And every Muslim should understand why another Muslim would be an extremist? You’re saying all Muslims understand why Islam calls Muslims to violence? Wouldn’t that be an admittance that islamophobia is a myth?

    Since the only thing you can do is tell me what you think, then think about this. Why don’t you define a solution for islamophobia. Instead of sounding ignorant and calling me an idiot, present solutions.

  • Kaylin (warning: sarcasm)


    1. Go and email the necessary sources for the data.

    2. Clearly, you can speak for the millions of Muslims in North America and Europe. You can read all their minds. I applaud you. Not. Islam is a way of life, or should kosher be banned?

    3.If you want Muslims profiled, maybe anybody remotely Germanic ought to be profiled, too. Anybody of the same race as A.Brevik. Maybe the black people too, since they are apparently violent.

    4. Since Muslims know Islam best, anything related to Islam (ie: the supposed connection of terrorism) should have them consulting. Somebody with personal knowledge of Islam could contribute.

    5. Why am I wasting my time with an idiot like you?

  • Jeff

    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.

    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?

    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?

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

  • Al

    They will continue with their witch hunt nonetheless

  • mindy1

    Facts are loon killers!!!! 😛

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