Muslim activists and allies gathered on Friday, February 3, at Foley Square, calling for the resignation of Commissioner Ray Kelly and NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne. The rally was organized by the Majilis Ashura of Metro NY and DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving).
“The NYPD has transgressed all boundaries of respect for our community by spying and surveilling masjids, Muslim run business, and MSA’s in the tri-state area through the ‘Demographics Unit’,” said CAIR-NY in a statement.“More recently the NYPD has used the anti-Muslim film ‘The Third Jihad’ as part of NYPD training.”
The rallies come as a response to recent revelations that the NYPD, as part of their officer counterterrorism trainging, screened ‘The Third Jihad’, an anti-Muslim propaganda film, to 1500 police officers. The NYPD had claimed earlier last year that the movie was only shown to a few officers. Ray Kelly also denied any involvement in the production of the film, until an article published by the New York Times reported that Ray Kelly had consented to being interviewed for the film.
CAIR, along with the Majilis Ashura and DRUM , are demanding for independant community control of the NYPD, with an oversight mechanism with subpoena power to monitor the NYPD.
The rally on Friday saw over 300 attendees, along with 30 – 40 media outlets. The rally was extensivly covered by the media in a positive light. Other communities also joined to demand for Ray Kelly, and Paul Browne’s resignation, and for corrective training within the NYPD.
“The Muslim community was not only successful in bringing these issues to light, but also in unititng other communities to hold the NYPD responsible for its actions,” said Cyrus McGoldrick, Civil Rights Manager of CAIR-NY. “This is not the end, only the beginning.”