Muslim leaders joined Long Island Congressman Peter King Monday in support of the New York City Police Department’s efforts that some say unfairly targets the Muslim community.
The group spoke at a morning news conference outside 1 Police Plaza, organized by the American Islamic Leadership Coalition.
They say the police department’s counter-terrorism efforts – including the monitoring of Muslim communities in and around the city and at area colleges – is necessary to keep New Yorkers safe.
Supporters say it also stopped a Herald Square subway station from being blown up and broke up a plot to bomb a Manhattan synagogue.
“The NYPD is carrying out effective surveillance. If they were not doing what they are doing to me they would negligent and remiss in their duties,” King said.
“They are doing surveillance at mosques which are public spaces, it’s fine. I have nothing to hide. I have no problem with a police officer monitoring my mosque praying right next to me…does not bother me. As a Muslim American I have nothing to hide,” said Samir Abdelkhalek of the Muslim Liberty Project.
Also voicing support at the rally was American Islamic Leadership Coalition Founder and President Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, who narrated the controversial film “The Third Jihad”, which accuses some Muslim groups in the U.S. of supporting terrorists.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly appeared in the film, which was shown to some at an NYPD training center.
Kelly has since said his appearance was a mistake, as was showing it to officers in the department.
“It’s rather denial to not recognize we have a responsibility to root out that radicalization,” Jasser said.
At one point during Monday’s rally, Congressman King also went after CAIR, one of the groups that’s targeted by the film and that’s condemned the NYPD surveillance program.
King, who’s Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, says the Council on American Islamic Relations is not at all what it professes to be.
“Instead of calling CAIR a Muslim civil rights organization refer to them as what they are: Unindicted co-conspirators in the most major terrorist financing case in the United States,” King charged.