New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has severely criticized the New York Police Department (NYPD) for using a controversial movie The Third Jihad, to portray American Muslims as terrorists in their training of police officers.
Bloomberg, according to The New York Times, accused police chiefs of "exercising some terrible judgment" over their use of the movie as part of training for nearly 1,500 recruits.
Daily Mail reports the video showed the White House with a black flag flying over it, and the message "Islam will dominate."
The movie which was played to police recruits in counter-terrorism training seminars, also showed Christians being shot in the head by Muslim extremists and car bombs set off by Islamic militants. According to Huffington Post, it included footage of the Beslan school massacre in Russia, and the Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi, saying that he believes the entire world must be ruled by Islam. The video shows other scenes of Muslim violence and a narrator saying: "This is the true agenda of much of Islam in America. A strategy to infiltrate and dominate America...This is the war you don’t know about."
One Police Plaza - Headquarters of the New York City Police Department in Lower Manhattan.
The New York Times reports that Tom Robbins of Village Voice was one of the first to report the use of the movie by the NYPD. Tom Robbins said the film promotes the idea that majority of American Muslims are involved in terror. He reports than an officer who saw the movie said: "After it was over, I was thinking, 'What was that?' It was so ridiculously one-sided. It just made Muslims look like the enemy. It was straight propaganda."
Bloomberg, apparently defending the Police Commissioner Ray kelly, said he (Kelly) did not know that the movie was being shown to police recruits. But police documents obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice, according to Huffington Post, showed that the movie was screened repeatedly while officers signed in for counter-terrorism training in between October and December 2010. The movie said Islamic terrorists believe America will be annihilated while Islam will remain.
Michael Bloomberg - Mayor of the City of New York
Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne, said the controversial movie was not on the official list of training materials and that the decision to play the movie in the background during the signing in to counter-terrorism training was the decision of an unnamed sergeant who, according to the Browne, has been reprimanded. Browne said: "This was never used in training, period. It was never authorized for use in training, period."
File photo: NYPD officers and sergeants being debriefed by lieutenant (in white shirt) in Times Square, Midtown Manhattan
"The Third Jihad": NYPD police links
The film included an interview with Kelly which Browne said was lifted from an old footage, implying that Kelly had no direct contact with the film producers.
The New York Times reports, however, that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly later admitted that he "personally cooperated" with the makers of the film. The police commissioner now says he regrets having done so. According to Kelly, he was interviewed five years ago by the producers of the movie who say the goal of Muslim leadership in U.S. is to "infiltrate and dominate" the United States.
The police chief, according to The New York Times, revised his story about connections with the movie only when the producer of the film Raphael Shore, in an email to The New York Times, provided evidence they had interviewed Kelly for the film on March 19, 2007. Browne, according to the The New York Times, suddenly remembered he had recommended the Commissioner Kelly for interview in 2007. Browne said, however, that the director of the film Erik Werth, only asked to speak to the commissioner for a cable film on foiled terrorist plots and current threat.
Shore contradicted Browne, saying Browne had been informed that the interview was for a documentary on radical Islamism. But Browne said when Kelly saw the film he was displeased and told him the video was objectionable and that he shouldn't have agreed to the interview five years ago.
NYPD Police Department
The New York Times concluded that the circumstantial evidence shows that senior police officers had approved use of the film. Daily Mail reports that use of the film was stopped only after one of the trainees complained. The New York Times reports that the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University obtained documents through a Freedom of Information request that indicated the film had been shown repeatedly for at least three months. Huffington Post reports the movie was shown for at least a year.
U.S. Muslim groups react
The revelations further strain relationship between the NYPD and the Muslim community following the uproar over extensive police spying on the community. The New York Police, according to Huffington Post , spied on "every aspect of Muslim life and built databases on where innocent Muslims eat, shop, work and pray."
Muslim groups in the U.S. have complained about the movie, saying it exaggerates and plays on the fears of American viewers.
The 72-minute film, according to The New York Times, was produced by the right-wing Clarion Fund, an independent non-profit organization campaigning that Islam is a threat to Americans.