LAPD Plan to Map Muslims Raises Furor

Police say they need data to reach out; critics call it religious profiling
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2007 12:55 PM CST
A plan by the Los Angeles Police Department to map the city's Muslim population is being criticized as the equivalent of religous profiling. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zabi Tamanna)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A plan by the LAPD to map Muslim communities in the city is drawing flak from civil libertarians and others who say it smacks of religious profiling, the LA Times reports. Police officials, though, defend the plan as a way to help them reach out to Muslims through social services. Beyond the civil rights objections, critics say the logistics of such an effort are too daunting to pay off.

"It is an effort to understand communities," said the police chief. Isolated segments of the Muslim community could breed terrorists, the department argues. One critic points to a recent Pew survey showing that American Muslims, unlike their often impoverished European counterparts, are "largely assimilated, happy with their lives and moderate," a finding that he says casts doubt on the necessity of the project.