The screening of an anti-Muslim film for nearly 1,500 New York Police officers has sparked a call for the resignation of the city's police commissioner.
A coalition of Muslim groups is calling for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's dismissal. Kelly appears in the controversial documentary The Third Jihad, widely available on Youtube. It portrays even ordinary Muslims as suspects in a radical Islamic quest to destroy Western civilization and take control of the United States.
“About 18 percent, at last count, of prisoners in New York State are Islamic,” he stated.
Police officials initially denied using the film at training sessions. But a Freedom of Information request revealed documents confirming such use. Kelly has issued an apology and enjoys the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Commissioner Kelly should not step down," Bloomberg said. "I think it’s fair to say that it was a little bit of an embarrassment that this film was made.”
Activists say actions, not apologies are needed, first of all Kelly’s resignation or dismissal. Shahid Farooqi represents the Islamic Circle of North America, an organization of mostly South Asian Muslims.
“Second is [an] independent investigation. The third is to start respecting our Muslim community members,” Farooqi demanded.
The Third Jihad is filled with images of Muslim violence accompanied by threatening rhetoric and music. It was produced by the Clarion Fund, a conservative non-profit organization and played on a continuous loop in the last quarter of 2010 on the sidelines of police counterterrorism training sessions. Muslim activists say the documentary poisoned the minds of New York City Police officers. They demand that those officers be retrained.
An earlier controversy over alleged random police surveillance of New York’s Muslim community triggered protests and also a boycott by some Muslim clerics of Mayor Bloomberg’s annual prayer breakfast.