(LOS ANGELES, CA, 11/16/2007) – A group of Southern California Muslim leaders today welcomed an announcement by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) that it will scrap its controversial plan to “map” the local Muslim community.
LAPD Chief William Bratton declared the plan “dead on arrival” in a meeting with the Muslim leadership of Southern California on Thursday, November 15. “It is over and not just put on the side,” said Chief Bratton.
The meeting was moderated by Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles Arif Alikhan and attended by LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing. Chief Bratton acknowledged the hurt and offense caused to Muslims and agreed to send a letter to the Muslim community announcing the official termination of the “mapping” plan.
A major reason for the termination of the “mapping” plan was the Muslim community’s vociferous opposition and active civic engagement in making themselves heard beyond Los Angeles. Muslim organizations demonstrated a strong unity of purpose and message on the issue of “mapping” that led to a position of strength for Muslims in the meeting.
Organizations involved in the initial phases of this controversy were the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Muslim Advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union. Several other mosques and organizations joined in the common stand against the “mapping” plan at the meeting.
Present at the press conference was a large coalition of interfaith groups and social justice organizations whose continued support strengthened the Muslims’ call for the withdrawal of the “mapping” plan. The alliance with these groups proved instrumental in registering a strong voice to preserve American democratic values in our city government.
The Muslim organizations highlighted the pervasive culture of ignorance across the country in political and law enforcement circles contributing to misconceptions about Islam and Muslims that lead to short-sighted policy-making.
In response, Chief Bratton suggested the establishment of a Muslim forum for the LAPD to directly interface with him and his senior command staff in pursuit of mutual understanding between law enforcement and the Muslim community. The Muslim leadership welcomed the idea and hopes the forum will help to dispel myths about Islam and Muslims and create a healthy dialogue with law enforcement.
Today, the people of Los Angeles spoke and the City of Los Angeles listened to the collective voice for justice and civil rights.
CONTACT: Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-LA Executive Director, Tel: 714-776-1847, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Shakeel Syed, Shura Council of Southern California Executive Director, (310) 384-7791; Salam Al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council Executive Director, (213) 383-3443