x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New York mayor Bloomberg blasts use of The Third Jihad film in NYPD training

Michael Bloomberg said New York police used "terrible judgment" in showing counterterrorism trainees a documentary-style film that says Muslim extremists are masquerading as moderates to destroy America from within.

NEW YORK // Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New York police used "terrible judgment" in showing counterterrorism trainees a documentary-style film that says Muslim extremists are masquerading as moderates to destroy America from within.

Mr Bloomberg said police have stopped showing officers The Third Jihad, a 72-minute movie that has been branded inflammatory by some Muslim organisations and was produced by a conservative group called the Clarion Fund.

"Somebody exercised some terrible judgment," he said in Albany, the state capital, on Tuesday. "As soon as they found out about it, they stopped it."

The criticism was unusual for Mr Bloomberg, who in recent months has vigorously defended the police department's counterterrorism efforts after an investigation exposed a secret programme to gather intelligence on Muslim neighbourhoods.

Mr Bloomberg said neither he nor the police commissioner, Ray Kelly, knew about the film being shown.

The Third Jihad contains images of Hizbollah rocket attacks, children being held hostage by Islamist militants and a woman it says was arrested in Iran for wearing immodest clothing. It shows pictures it says were taken from Islamic videos and websites, including a doctored image of an Islamic flag flying over the White House.

The film features interviews with the former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge and other experts. Mr Kelly, the police commissioner, appears on camera, talking about Muslim converts in prison and the danger of terrorists using nuclear weapons.

But Mr Kelly found the video objectionable and regretted consenting to the interview five years ago, said the deputy police commissioner, Paul Browne.

The New York-based Clarion Fund did not return calls for comment. Its website, Radicalislam.org, says Clarion was founded in 2006 by Raphael Shore. Mr Shore is a former leader of Aish HaTorah, a chain of Jewish educational centres.

The film was shown on a continuous loop while officers were signing in for counterterrorism training sessions from October to December 2010, according to police documents obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice, a think tank at New York University. As many as 1,489 officers who underwent training, including 68 lieutenants, may have seen it, the documents say.