NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Demonstrators held a protest Thursday on the steps of City Hall, speaking out against the showing of a film Muslim groups say encourages Americans to be suspicious of all adherents of Islam.
The film, “The Third Jihad” tries to send a message by warning about the dangers of radical Islam. However, critics say it paints the entire faith in a negative light and serves as anti-Muslim propaganda.
Some Muslim groups now want the resignation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for his appearance in the movie. Kelly originally said he wasn’t involved with the film and in March wrote a letter saying “the NYPD did not participate in its production,” CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported.
Kelly is seen for about 30 seconds of the 72-minute movie, but apologized for appearing in the film and for its showing, which Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said Tuesday was “unauthorized and not part of the curriculum.”
“He has not addressed the fact that he covered up his role in the film. In fact, he lied straight up to our faces about it. We have a signed letter from him saying that he did not take a part in the production in the film. He has not addressed that. And his apology today didn’t even address the real issues,” Cyrus McGoldrick, a civil rights manager with the New York Council on American-Islamic Relations, told 1010 WINS.
The movie was later shown to police trainees. The Police Department said it was played in a continuous loop in the sign-in area of counterterrorism training sessions between October and December 2010. As many as 1,489 trainees may have seen the movie, according to documents released under New York’s public records law.
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“This is not just some cadet training, this is not just some background noise type of video. This was in the session and a lot of people saw it,” McGoldrick said.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams also called for the resignation of the NYPD spokesman Browne. Williams said, time and again, community complaints have been brushed off.
“You cannot blame a city who feels under siege with whatever way they have to react to get the respect that we deserve,” Williams said.
Kelly’s supporters said the protest was unfair. They said he has done a great deal to improve relations with the Muslim community, including approving the creation of a “Muslim Officers Association.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while supporting his police commissioner, said that Kelly would need to redouble his efforts to reach out to the Muslim community after the incident.
“Ray Kelly probably visits more mosques than an awful lot of people who believe in the faith that is practiced there,” Bloomberg said.
Councilwoman Letitia James wasn’t calling for Kelly to resign, but said she wants the issue to be investigated further.
“What I’m asking for are hearings and an independent investigation because NYPD has shown time and time again that they cannot and will not police themselves,” she said.
Still Muslims groups want more immediate and dramatic action taken right away.
“There’s three things that are an absolute must, really a bare minimum for repairing the trust here with the police department. One, is the immediate resignation of Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. Two, immediate corrective training for the almost 1,500 NYPD officers that are now walking the streets with that poison in their brain and number. Three, there needs to be some independent oversight over this police department,” McGoldrick said.
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