NYPD `clarifies’ report on radical Islam

(RNS) The New York City Police Department has issued a "clarification" to a 2007 report about Islamic radicalism that critics said cast broad swaths of the Muslim population as potential terrorists.

Muslim-American advocacy groups welcomed the two-page clarification, but worried the new statement would go largely unnoticed, and remain concerned that the original report remains intact.

"There was a lot of publicity surrounding the first report," said Faiza Ali, the community affairs director for the New York City chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "But when it comes to the clarification, there wasn't any attention brought to it."

Ali said she learned about the clarification in a casual conversation with an NYPD detective at a Ramadan dinner last week hosted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The detective told Ali the statement was added to the report between April and June.

"NYPD understands that it is a tiny minority of Muslims who subscribe to al-Qaida's ideology of war and terror and that the NYPD's focus on al-Qaida inspired terrorism should not be mistaken for any implicit or explicit justification for racial, religious or ethnic profiling," said the statement.

Describing Muslims as "an ally" in combating terrorism, the new statement said the original report, titled "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat," "should not be read to characterize Muslims as intrinsically dangerous or intrinsically linked to terrorism."

The disclaimers did not go far enough for the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition, however. "The unchanged language of the report remains exceptionally troubling," the group said, pointing to sections that link praying, wearing Islamic clothing and visiting halal butcher shops as indicators of radicalization.

The NYPD disagreed with the criticism. "What we added explicitly was already implicit in the report and was understood by the law enforcement community and the others receiving it," NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne said in an e-mail.

"Anyone who read the report would understand that it was focused on anomalies, the rare individual who uses religion to rationalize terrorism."