LA police chief scraps Muslim mapping

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said Thursday a plan to map out where Muslims lived had been scrapped, saying strong reaction from Muslim communities forced the department to change course. “The proposal will not be moving forward,” Bratton said, standing with several Muslim leaders after a closed-door meeting. “It’s dead on arrival.”

Muslim groups praised the move, but said reversing the damage would take a long time. “We hope to receive a written statement from the chief on the demise of the plan, and a recognition of the pain it caused in our communities,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. “We’ll also wait to get new ideas of engagement from the chief.”

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

The plan was immediately and roundly criticized by Muslim and civil rights groups who said it amounted to religious profiling. Many argued it would achieve the opposite of its intent, making Muslims hesitant to work with authorities. “My first mistake was not reaching out to more groups” before announcing the plan, Downing said.

Associated Press, 16 November 2007

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