Posted by on March 07, 2012 in Blog

The Department of Homeland Security has attempted to set the record straight about the video “The Third Jihad.” The film sparked a serious controversy in January when New York Times reporter Michael Powell revealed that the New York Police Department had been showing the video on a continuous loop as part of a training program for New York City Police officers. Powell’s report implicated New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, whom the video’s producers, The Clarion Fund (a group known to harbor anti-Muslim views), interviewed for the video. As a result, several American Muslim advocacy groups called for Commissioner Kelly to step down.

The video, among other things, alleges that Muslims are involved in a conspiracy, a “Third Jihad” to covertly subvert the United States and other Western governments. The New York Times report also raised questions about the origin of the video, stating that a source at the NYPD alleged that the department received the video from an employee at the Department of Homeland Security. Citing The New York Times report, AAI sent a letter to DHS asking if DHS had anything to do with the distribution and funding of the video. Today, in a return letter, the DHS went on record formally denying any connection to the video.

“DHS did not authorize the distribution of the video The Third Jihad, was not involved in its funding, and has not sanctioned its use as part of DHS training programs,” Tamara Kessler, Acting Officer at the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties wrote in a letter to AAI Executive Director Maya Berry.

AAI Executive Director Maya Berry said, “DHS made an important distinction today between the merits of an effective, comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy and the dangers of policies that actively marginalize an entire community. Kessler offered specific channels for engagement and we look forward to working with DHS going forward.”

An excerpt from Kessler’s letter appears below:  

“We recognize that the threat posed by violent extremists is real and not limited to a single ideology. We also know that violence inspired by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs is not a phenomenon restricted solely to one community and that any effort to counter violent extremism (CVE) must be applicable to all ideologically motivated violence.”

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