NEW YORK (AP) â” The narrator of “The Third Jihad,” a controversial documentary that uses dramatic footage to warn against the dangers of radical Islam, planned to speak at a rally Monday to support the New York Police Department’s aggressive counterterrorism efforts, even though city officials have disavowed the film.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is among those slated to speak at a scheduled rally outside police headquarters, and said it was about more than just the film flap â” it was important that Muslims show support for the department. “We feel the NYPD has been taking a lot of unfair hits,” he said.
The department has been criticized by many other Muslim groups and politicians after The Associated Press reported the NYPD secretly monitored Muslims across the Northeast in the years following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“The Third Jihad,” produced by the conservative Clarion Fund, accuses some moderate Muslims of being more radical than they appear on the surface and uses vivid footage of bombings and terror attacks to illustrate the danger of radical Islam. Speakers interviewed in the film warn viewers repeatedly that Western civilization is under attack. Manda Zand Ervin, founder of the Alliance for Iranian Women, was also scheduled to speak and was also interviewed in the film.
The documentary was played in the lobby of an NYPD training area after a sergeant brought it in, and was stopped after one of the trainees complained. Nearly 1,500 police officers went through the training and may have seen it. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was “terrible judgment” to show it.
The department initially said footage of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly appeared to be lifted, but Kelly later said he was interviewed. He appears in it for about 30 seconds. He said that after he saw the film, which he called “inflammatory and a little much,” he regretted doing the interview. He has apologized to the Muslim community for it.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, also said he was planning to speak. King has been a steadfast supporter of the NYPD. The committee last summer held hearings examining the radical Islamic terror threat in the U.S. despite criticism.
“The threat right now is Islamist terrorism â” and that’s going to be coming from the Muslim community, it’s just a fact,” King said. “Just like the mafia came from the Italian community, and the Russian mob is coming from the Russian community.”