NYPD warns – watch out for Muslims with beards

They preferred bookstores or hookah bars to mosques. They stopped listening to pop music and instead surfed Web sites promoting radical Islam. They threw away their baseball caps and grew beards. New York Police Department intelligence analysts have concluded those were some of the telltale signs of homegrown terrorists in the making – a mounting threat as grave as that from established terrorist groups like al-Qaida.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations accused the NYPD analysts of distorting the innocent behavior of observant Muslims. “Is Islamic attire or giving up bad habits … now to be regarded as suspicious behavior?” asked the group’s chairman, Parvez Ahmed.

Kareem Shora, legal adviser for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, called the findings faulty and inflammatory. “The report is at odds with federal law enforcement findings, including those of the recently released National Intelligence Estimate, and uses unfortunate stereotyping of entire communities,” Shora said in a statement. “The use of such language by the NYPD is un-American and goes against everything for which we stand.”

Associated Press, 16 August 2007