November 9th, 2007 16:27 EST
Civil Rights Groups Oppose LAPD Mapping Project
The Greater Los Angeles area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today joined other civil liberties groups and Islamic institutions to voice opposition to a project proposed by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to map " Muslim communities in Southern California.
CAIR-LA, along with the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Muslim Advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, sent a letter to the LAPD Thursday expressing concerns over the possible civil rights violations if the proposed mapping " of the Muslim community were to move forward.
The letter stated, in part: The mapping of Muslim communities as part of counter-terrorism efforts seems premised on the faulty notion that Muslims are more likely to commit violent acts than people of other faiths. Singling out individuals for investigation, surveillance, and data-gathering based on their religion constitutes religious profiling that is just as unlawful, ill-advised, and deeply offensive as racial profiling. "
SEE: Letter from Muslim leaders to LAPD
SEE ALSO: Protest Greets Police Plan to Map Muslims (NY Times)
SEE ALSO: LAPD to Build Data on Muslim Areas (LA Times)
SEE ALSO: LAPD Mapping Plan Draws Ire from Muslims (USA Today)
Based on statements of those involved, it is clear that the "mapping` project would target the Muslim community based not on any suspicious criminal activities, but rather on the basis of legitimate religious and political views protected by the First Amendment, " said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA. This project would undermine many years spent building trust and partnership between the Muslim community and law enforcement agencies. "
In the letter, the Muslim and civil rights leaders also requested a meeting with Commander Michael Downing of the LAPD, scheduled for Oct. 15, to discuss concerns about the mapping " project.
CAIR, America`s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: Munira Syeda, CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator, Tel: (714) 776-1847 or (714) 851- 4851, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org