LOS ANGELES – A police plan to map out Muslim communities, a proposal that civil rights groups sharply criticized as racial and religious profiling, has been shelved, a police spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The LAPD planned to have its counterterrorism bureau identify Muslim enclaves to determine which might be likely to become isolated and susceptible to “violent, ideologically based extremism.”
Several Muslim groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California criticized the plan and sent a letter to Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing expressing their concerns.
“There was a clear message from the Muslim community that they were not comfortable with it. So we listened,” said Mary Grady, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department. She couldn’t immediately say when the plan might resume.
Grady said the remaining part of the initiative, which includes outreach efforts to strengthen ties with Muslim communities, would continue, and police planned to meet with Muslim leaders Thursday.
In a statement, Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, praised the decision.
“I am glad to hear (Downing) is putting the plan aside,” Al-Marayati said. “All Muslim organizations are united in purpose to defend the rights of Muslim Americans while developing a positive and constructive relationship with the LAPD.”
Downing and other city officials had defended the plan, saying the idea was to deepen ties with Muslim communities. The plan would have had data assembled by the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events.
There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.