|Page (1) of 1 - 01/24/12||email article||print page|
NY mayor blasts use of movie about Muslims during counterterrorism training
NEW YORK (AP) ' New York's mayor said Tuesday that New York police used "terrible judgment" in showing officers a film about Muslims that Islamic groups have said is inflammatory.
Michael Bloomberg said commanders have stopped showing the movie, "The Third Jihad," which contends Muslims are bent on establishing an Islamic regime worldwide. The film, which was played during counterterrorism training seminars, was bankrolled by a conservative group called the Clarion Fund, according to The New York Times.
"Somebody exercised terrible judgment," Bloomberg said. "As soon as they found out about it, they stopped it."
The criticism was unusual for Bloomberg, who in recent months vigorously defended the police department's counterterrorism efforts after an Associated Press investigation exposed a secret program to gather intelligence on Muslim neighborhoods.
Bloomberg said neither he nor Police Commissioner Ray Kelly knew about the film being shown.
Muslim groups have said the film exaggerates radical Islamic elements.
The movie was shown on a continuous loop while officers were signing in for counterterrorism training from October to December 2010, according to police documents obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice, a legal think tank at New York University. As many as 1,489 officers may have seen it, the documents say.
Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said the movie was not among the official training materials and that the decision to play it in the background at the training sessions was made by a sergeant who has been reprimanded.
"This was never used in training, period. It was never authorized for use in training, period," Browne said.
Police originally said only a few officers had seen it. Police stopped showing the film after a trainee complained.
Associated Press Writers Michael Gormley and Tom Hays contributed to this report.