Terror probe highlights police-Muslim te…
The arrest of a Queens imam who investigators had considered a trusted partner was a blow in more ways than one for law enforcement.
Officers visit mosques, attend national Muslim conventions and very publicly celebrate Muslim holidays. Earlier this month, New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly led the annual NYPD Ramadan program for clerics and others at One Police Plaza.
Yet, in many cases, aggressive outreach hasn’t been enough to overcome deep Muslim mistrust of authorities — fears that have been exacerbated in cases in which law enforcement has placed informants inside mosques to build a case. Muslims widely fear that the innocent will be caught up in the net police have set for terrorists, and some struggle with just how forthcoming they should be.
There is also a persistent belief among some Muslims that no one of their faith could have carried out the Sept. 11 hijackings. Muslims who hold this view believe there is no threat of extremism in their community and therefore no need to work with law enforcement.
Several national Muslim groups have tried to counter this attitude. As just one example, the Muslim Public Affairs Council created a “National Grassroots Campaign to Fight Terrorism,” several years ago aimed largely at mosque leaders. Still, in a 2007 Pew Research Center survey, 60 percent of Muslim Americans said they did not believe that Arabs were behind the attacks.