Attacks on the police commissioner for anti-Muslim bias are wrong
BY TOM RIDGE AND JAMES WOOLSEY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 2/5/12
Recently, interest groups such as the Council of American Islamic Relations have demanded that NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly resign and that an outside inspector general be appointed over the NYPD.
Both demands should be rejected.
The demands follow the revelation that the NYPD has been using the film "The Third Jihad: Radical Islam's Vision for America" - in which both of us also appeared - as part of its counterterrorism training program.
The documentary takes an in-depth look at the process of radicalization that takes place within certain elements of Muslim society in America. Those elements were previously highlighted in a landmark 2007 NYPD intelligence division report titled "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat."
In the preface to the 2007 report, Kelly wrote, New York City continues to be "one of the top targets of terrorists worldwide. Consequently, the NYPD places a priority on understanding what drives and defines the radicalization process."
Kelly and the NYPD know something about this subject. The department he leads has foiled numerous terror plots and developed into one of the most sophisticated counterterrorism forces in the world.
Yet essentially under the banner of political correctness, the advocacy groups calling for his resignation are working to brand those fighting crime as criminals, and those fighting violent bigotry as bigots.
At a CAIR press conference on Jan. 26 on the steps of City Hall, those who called for Kelly's resignation actually invoked the name of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while holding signs calling the police commissioner a "Ray-cist."
But it is the process of radical indoctrination that teaches a particularly violent form of bigotry. Those Muslims who are successfully indoctrinated and are willing to carry out acts of terror on American soil or abroad do so under the notion that those they are taught to kill are second-class citizens.
The fact that CAIR is leading the push to smear Kelly's reputation is ironic.
During the Holy Land Foundation trial of 2008 - the largest terror funding trial in U.S. history - CAIR was officially designated by the U.S. Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator and/or joint venturer.
As a result, the FBI severed formal ties with the group.
The NYPD and the mayor's office should cease relations with CAIR as well.
For years, CAIR has worked together with the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law to try to affect the methods of New York law enforcement. In fact, the Brennan Center was honored with an award by CAIR in 2009.
Together, this coalition actively works to silence those who point out dangerous trends within segments of the Muslim community - a community in which several credible terror threats have originated over the past decade.
These same groups not only object to the use of the film "The Third Jihad," but more importantly seek to put an end to an undercover terror prevention program that gathers intelligence from within the Muslim community.
This entire CAIR versus NYPD episode could easily be a chapter in the film that is at the center of the controversy.
The documentary centers on an important piece of evidence produced by the FBI during the Holy Land Foundation trial - a 1991 memo in which the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood called for "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within."
The film - which is not hostile to the religion of Islam - is narrated by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, devout Muslim and model American citizen. Jasser has pointed out repeatedly that groups like CAIR should not be regarded as the primary representatives of what is a diverse American Muslim society.
Nor should they affect how the NYPD does its job. Terror prevention dictates that crime fighters must be armed with the tools to understand the motivations of attackers before they strike.
Those who enforce our laws against terrorism cannot afford to let down their guard.
We should treat the officers of the NYPD - one of the world's most excellent and most diverse law enforcement agencies - as crime fighters, and not as criminals. New Yorkers know all too well the pain of failing to stop terrorists before they strike.
Ridge was the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and former governor of Pennsylvania. Woolsey is chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and was director of central intelligence during the Clinton administration.