One year ago, the Village Voice reported that NYPD training included "a spectacularly offensive smear of American Muslims" in the form of "a full-length color feature, with more explosions than a Transformers sequel and more blood-splattered victims than an HBO World War II series." The department's spokesman Paul Browne brushed it off at the time as some "wacky movie" that was shown only "a couple of times when officers were filling out paperwork before the actual coursework began." That isn't really true! As the New York Times reports today, the film, titled The Third Jihad, was seen by at least 1,489 officers.
The video goes something like this:
Ominous music plays as images appear on the screen: Muslim terrorists shoot Christians in the head, car bombs explode, executed children lie covered by sheets and a doctored photograph shows an Islamic flag flying over the White House.
“This is the true agenda of much of Islam in America,” a narrator intones. “A strategy to infiltrate and dominate America. ... This is the war you don’t know about.”
Internal police documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU reveal that the video was shown "on a continuous loop" for somewhere between three months and one year. After initial reports of the movie surfaced, Browne asked for a report on whether the video was used in a terrorism awareness training program, and two months later, a commander said the film was seen by "68 lieutenants, 159 sergeants, 31 detectives and 1,231 patrol officers." The NYPD never made the report public and Browne told the Times that he was unaware of the viewership numbers.
A DVD of the film was allegedly given to the NYPD by a federal employee of the Department of Homeland Security. "Americans are being told that many of the mainstream Muslim groups are also moderate," says the film's narrator. "When in fact if you look a little closer, you'll see a very different reality. One of their primary tactics is deception."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is interviewed in the film, but claims the footage was taken without permission. However, the Times reports that Kelly "has not asked the filmmakers to remove him from its Web site, or to clarify that he had not cooperated with them."
The department also seems pretty unconcerned with the contents of the video. "There's no plan to contact officers who saw it," or to "add other programming as a result," Browne said. The department similarly denies problems with its widespread spying on Muslim groups, including religious leaders and students, in New York City, as reported extensively by the Associated Press.