LAPD Defends Muslim Mapping Effort

[Los Angeles Times] Richard Winton, Teresa Watanabe, and Greg Krikorian - The Los Angeles Police Department's counter-terrorism bureau has proposed using U.S. census data and other demographic information to pinpoint various Muslim communities and then reach out to them through social service agencies. LAPD officials said that it is crucial for them to gain a better understanding of isolated parts of the Muslim community. Those groups can potentially breed violent extremism, the LAPD said. "This is not...targeting or profiling," Police Chief William J. Bratton said Friday in defending the program. "It is an effort to understand communities," he said. The effort faces enormous practical difficulties. The U.S. Census Bureau is barred by law from asking people for their religious affiliation. Census data on ancestry would not yield accurate Muslim estimates, because significant numbers of ethnic Iranians are Jewish and many ethnic Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians are Christians. A Pew Research Center study found striking differences between American Muslims and their European counterparts in often-distressed Muslim enclaves, with more in the U.S. rejecting extremism and supporting coexistence with Israel. Only 2% of American Muslims were low-income, compared with rates of 18% and higher in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.

2007-11-12 01:00:00

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