The New York Police Department said Tuesday it would disband a special unit charged with detecting possible terrorist threats by carrying out secret surveillance of Muslim groups.
The squad that conducted the surveillance, known as the Demographics Unit, was formed in 2003. It brought the NYPD under fire from community groups and activists who accused the force of abusing civil rights and profiling.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration has promised “a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair.
“This reform is a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys,” he said. [Source: NPR.org 4/15/14]
Here’s what I don’t understand.
Does safety have to be “balanced” with respect and fairness?
In a sense, yes; of course. In a free and rational society, with a proper government, individuals are given due process. You’re innocent until proven guilty, and the government may not prosecute you without following a particular set of legal procedures and principles applied to everyone equally.
However, this program of New York City was reportedly about investigating, not prosecuting. Essentially, it involved efforts by the police department to integrate into their work the fact that Muslim communities were, for obvious reasons, hotbeds of terrorist activities. It doesn’t mean that all Muslim communities are, nor does it mean that all Muslim individuals necessarily approve of terrorism. But it was certainly reasonable to consider that Muslim communities were an obvious place to start looking.
The new mayor of New York City is going on the premise of political correctness, but it’s deeper than that. It’s almost a dare against — I’m not sure against what, but the only way I know how to put it is against reality and facts.
It’s as if he’s saying, “Don’t you dare go out of your way to look into neighborhoods where there are more Muslims. You must pretend that Islam and terrorist events such as 9/11 — and nearly all of the other ones which occur — have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Even if they do.”
Of course de Blasio and those who agree with him on this issue would never put it that way. But that’s quite literally what their positions imply, and all but say. Keep in mind they’re not just eliminating policies which they consider overboard, questionable or a bit much. They’re obliterating all focusing on Islamic communities, on principle.
Imagine if police were told not to look in Italian or Russian neighborhoods for Mafia criminals. Or imagine if police were instructed not to go anywhere near crack houses when looking for drug criminals. Or what if police were told not to investigate family members after a death in what evidence suggests was a domestic dispute. It would be absurd, and nobody would suggest such things. But when it comes to the prevention of Islamic-inspired terrorism, the mayor of New York City demands it, and nobody dares protest lest they be declared an “Islamo-phobe.”
On the one hand, we’re expecting and requiring police to protect us from terrorist violence. And yet simultaneously, and in complete contradiction, we’re telling them, “Don’t you dare offend any Muslims in the process. In fact, don’t go anywhere near them.” That’s what the New York City government is essentially saying, and those who don’t speak up against it are — by implication — agreeing with it.
We’re all told to be humble and respect the sensitivities of all Muslim people, the vast majority, it’s claimed, who want nothing but peace, individual rights and total separation of church and state. But whether or not all Muslims condone outright 9/11-style violence, I have never once heard of a protest of Muslims against the violent elements of their religion. What about the sensitivities of those who wish not to be blown up by a bomb or a nuclear device in the name of Allah?
In practice, it’s not difficult to imagine how this will play out. Federal and New York City police will continue to investigate and do detective work aimed at trying to uncover terrorist plots and preventing their implementation. It’s what they do. They will undoubtedly continue to do what simple reason and common sense require: To include, most especially, Islamic suspects in their detective work, since most if not all anti-American, anti-Western terrorism is done in the name of Islam by supporters of that fanatical ideology. The only difference, at least under the administration of this mayor, is that they must make it look like they’re treating all suspects as equal possibilities.
Opposing “profiling” is nothing more than crippling the ability of police to do what we supposedly want them to do: Save lives and protect us from the initiation of violent force.
Islam is a religion devoted explicitly to the merging of religion and state. If there are moderate or liberal Muslims who completely disagree with Islam on this point, I wish they’d speak out against Mayor de Blasio’s policy. They face just as much risk at the hands of a fanatical Muslim terrorist as any of those of us who don’t believe in their faith’s primitive delusions of rage and grandeur.
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