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My Take: NYPD’s use of anti-Islam film makes us less safe
U.S. Rep Keith Ellison in a Minnesota mosque last August.
February 16th, 2012
04:20 PM ET

My Take: NYPD’s use of anti-Islam film makes us less safe

Editor's Note: Congressman Keith M. Ellison represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District and co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

By Rep. Keith M. Ellison, Special to CNN

Recent news that the New York Police Department presented the film “The Third Jihad” to nearly 1,500 officers is only the latest example of anti-Muslim training materials being used in ways that harm our national security.

The film baselessly contends that “the true agenda of much of Islam in America” is to “infiltrate and dominate America,” smearing a religion that has been part of this country since its founding. Incidents like these sound the alarm on the need for greater transparency and oversight of counterterrorism training at all levels of government.

The NYPD’s use of “The Third Jihad” is disturbing because it leaves officers with the impression that American Muslims are the enemy, not an ally against terrorism. This notion hurts the ability of law enforcement to do its job. No one knows this better than the brave officers who have stood up to such bigotry – it was NYPD officers who objected to the screening of the film, just as it was FBI agents who recently objected to using equally harmful training materials at the bureau.

“The Third Jihad” was produced by the Clarion Fund, a group that lacks national security credentials but is flush with cash. Far-right wing donors gave the Clarion Fund $18 million between 2001 and 2009 to drive their political agenda through Islamophobic films. The group mailed its last film, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” to 28 million swing state voters weeks before the 2008 election.

The who’s who of the Islamophobic fringe leads the Clarion Fund. During the 2008 presidential campaign, one Clarion advisory board member advanced the conspiracy theory that then-Senator Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim (as if it should matter).

Another Clarion board member has said that “Most mosques in the United States are actually engaged in – or at least supportive of – a totalitarian, seditious agenda they call Sharia.” Americans of all political stripes, including former Bush Administration officials, have dismissed these extreme statements

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that whoever approved the request for Commissioner Raymond Kelly to appear in the film “exercised some terrible judgment.” The mayor is right. Not since D.W. Griffiths’ racially charged “The Birth of a Nation” made in 1915 has a film sought to stoke so much fear about one group of American citizens.

Now more than ever, it is critical that law enforcement build relationships with the Muslim community to better fight against terrorism. In my hometown of Minneapolis, the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim community is so strong that international dignitaries have visited to learn about our model. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has said he was able to solve several high-profile crimes only because Muslim community members voluntarily came forward to share information with the police.

The great majority of national security experts view American Muslims as partners – and for good reason. A study last year by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security showed that most tips regarding domestic terrorism come from the American Muslim community (the American Muslim who tipped off police about the attempted car bombing of Times Square in 2010 is one such example. The Triangle Center reported last week that terrorism by American Muslims poses a “minuscule” threat – not a single one of last year’s almost 17,000 murders was a result of Islamic extremism.

Ensuring the public trust is critical to fighting terrorism. As Attorney General Eric Holder said in 2010, “the cooperation of Muslim and Arab-American communities has been absolutely essential in identifying, and preventing, terrorist threats.” American Muslims are well positioned to identify potential terrorists, but it’s harder to win their trust when police departments partner with the CIA to conduct surveillance, train officers to view Muslims as terrorists, or spy on Muslims purely because of their religion.

Trust can be restored only if law enforcement agencies hold individuals accountable for using prejudicial materials and create new mechanisms that ensure transparency and rigorous oversight. The result will be not only a more just society, but a safer one.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rep. Keith M. Ellison.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Opinion

soundoff (399 Responses)
  1. Willona

    semua orang di halaman ini munkgin tidak mengenal islam lebih dalam, hanya mengenal islam sebagai teroris. let me tell you guys, Osama bin laden sebenarnya bukan muslim 100%, dia lebih ...

    May 19, 2012 at 3:47 am |
  2. Painterly51

    If you were to watch "The Third Jihad" the very first point made is that only a tiny minority of Muslims are "dangerous". But there are significant numbers of people who do want to convert humans everywhere to Islam, and also bring Sharia law to every corner of the globe. Many of these folks claim they want to do it peacefully, no matter how long it takes. As a journalist, I've spoken to a number of young Muslims who speak with pride about this mission - they say things like the Statue of Liberty will one day wear a burka.... and they mean it! In Europe this kind of in-your-face declaration of future domination is rampant. The question becomes - should non-Muslims be really worried? And if so, how should we respond? My answer is education - make sure that as many people as possible understand what Islam really is. It's the only way it can be defeated.

    February 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Reality

      Quick starting the educational process:

      from the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      February 20, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • ladydi

      BE REALISTIC – THEY'RE ALL OUT TO KILL THE NON-BELIEVERS........THEY NEED TO BE WATCHED 24/7............

      February 22, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    February 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  4. Iqbal khan

    Watch all three parts.... and U be the judge....

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=360]

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBhhI7m47ZE&w=640&h=360]

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AndspJslg6A&w=640&h=360]

    February 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Reality

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon?

      And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

      The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

      Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

      Until then, no Muslim to include Keith M. Ellison can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

      February 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  5. harry

    Wow, NY and California the land of the conspiracy knuckleheads!

    February 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  6. Tom L.

    Diversity will be the death of hope for mankind. When the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and their hordes invaded Rome, you didn't hear deceptive politicians whining about "Diversity is our strength." They knew a disaster when they saw it. If America doesn't do something about the Muslim threat, we will be in the same fix as the Romans at the time of their fall. The Fall of Rome was followed by centuries of Dark Ages. A new Dark Age period is upon us and diversity will bring it on.

    February 19, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  7. matthew swaye

    I am putting out a call for mass civil disobedience in defense of Stop & Frisk. Save Stop & Frisk from attack. This crime-stopping tool, when properly applied in high-black and high-brown areas, has brought down murder rates and kept the streets clean of people. It is now at last time for the white community to stand in solidarity with the black establishment in telling children to pull their pants up.

    *Raw Footage* NYPD Arresting Elders in Harlem
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S_Q4KumJNE&w=640&h=360]

    February 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.