An extensive mapping program launched by the Los Angeles Police Department’s anti-terrorism bureau to identify Muslim enclaves across the city has sparked outrage from Islamic groups and civil libertarians, who denounced the effort as an exercise in racial and religious profiling, reports the Los Angeles Times. Deputy Police Chief Michael Downing defended the action as a way to help Muslim communities avoid the influence of those who would radicalize Islamic residents and advocate “violent, ideologically-based extremism.” He said the Muslim Public ffairs Council has embraced the vaguely defined program “in concept.”
Others condemned the project. “We certainly reject this idea completely,” said Shakeel Syed of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. “This stems basically from this presumption that there is homogenized Muslim terrorism that exists among us.” To assemble the mapping data, Downing will enlist the University of Southern Californias Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, which was founded four years ago with $12 million in federal funds. Downing said the effort would not involve spying on neighborhoods. He said it would identify groups, not individuals. “This has nothing to do with intelligence,” he said, comparing it to market research.