November 27, 2007

LAPD scraps plans for a “Muslim map”

The Los Angeles Police department has scrapped a plan to map the city’s Muslim population – a project they said was necessary to identify potential hotbeds of extremism. The mapping project set off howls of protest from Muslim groups and civil libertarians who called it “religious profiling”. Others noted that it would be almost impossible to create such a map, since the Muslim community is spread out and integrated through the area, and census data is forbidden by law from recording religious affiliation. In a statement, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that “while I believe the department’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim communities were well intentioned, the mapping proposal has created a level of fear and apprehension that made it counterproductive.” LAPD officials stressed for that the mapping program was not a form of profiling or targeting but rather a way to better understand the Muslim community. They have subsequently been reaching out to Muslim activists, some of whom who said they would welcome greater involvement by the LAPD in their communities.

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