Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Blog

Earlier today, the Arab American Institute formally submitted a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano regarding recent revelations of the widespread dissemination of an extreme anti-Muslim video in NYPD officer trainings.

On January 23, an investigation by The New York Times revealed that the “Third Jihad” video, which was identified in use over a year ago, constituted a far more significant part of NYPD training than had been previously assumed, reaching “at least 1,489 police officers, from lieutenants to detectives to patrol officers,” and shown “’on a continuous loop’ for between three months and one year of training.”

In the letter to Secretary Napolitano, AAI President Jim Zogby and Executive Director Maya Berry point out the recurring incidence of these types of revelations:

The video is of course deeply troubling to our communities, who have already suffered from increasing Islamophobia and racial profiling, perpetuated by similar training materials used by the FBI, the U.S. Army, and other government bodies.

Based on reports that “an employee of the federal Department of Homeland Security handed the DVD to the New York police in January 2010,” the letter posed the following questions to Secretary Napolitano:

  • Was the Department of Homeland Security responsible, as reported by The New York Times, for the dissemination of the video to the New York Police Department?
  • Has the video been distributed to other departments?
  • Has federal funding been employed in any way in the production or distribution of the video?
  • How will DHS ensure that individuals who are responsible for the dissemination of these materials are not afforded positions of influence or authority?

The letter, while acknowledging that “internal police policies understandably require some measure of insularity,” states that “it is imperative that matters such as these, which can be harmful to communities and to police-community relations, be handled transparently.”

 

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