LAPD Halts Sharply Criticized Muslim Mapping Program

LOS ANGELES

A police plan to map out Muslim communities that was sharply criticized and called religious profiling by civil rights groups has been shelved, a police spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing announced last week that the LAPD’s counterterrorism bureau planed to identify Muslim enclaves to determine which might be likely to become isolated and susceptible to “violent, ideologically based extremism.”

“There was a clear message from the Muslim community that they were not comfortable with it. So we listened,” Mary Grady, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, told The Associated Press.

Grady said the program hadn’t been dropped, but rather had been indefinitely postponed. She couldn’t immediately say when it might be resumed.

Grady said the remaining part of the initiative, which includes outreach efforts to strengthen ties with Muslim communities, would continue, and police planned to meet with Muslim leaders Thursday.

Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, praised the decision.

“This is the first step to a healthy dialogue between Muslim organizations and the LAPD,” said Al-Marayati.

Al-Marayati said at Thursday’s meeting Muslim groups would be looking for police officials to make an “unabigious statement” that there would be no mapping.

When the plan was announced, several Muslim groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sent Downing a letter expressing concern.

Downing and other city officials defended it, saying the idea was to deepen ties with Muslim communities. The plan would have had data assembled by the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis.

Downing testified about the plan before a U.S. Senate committee on Oct. 30.

There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.



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