New York police might scrub from its website a comprehensive report on Islamic terrorism to placate Muslims who filed federal lawsuits over the city's surveillance of mosques, the New York Post reported
, citing secret talks over possible settlements.
The plaintiffs are also demanding that the New York Police Department halt any ongoing monitoring of Muslim religious sites and destroy records of any previous surveillance, the Post said Sunday, quoting sources familiar with the negotiations.
Law enforcement officials cited the 92-page groundbreaking report as a valuable source of information for the public because the 2007 study identified lone-wolf attacks as the biggest terrorist threat facing the city that suffered most from the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
"The harm is that it sends the message that the NYPD is going to back down on its counterterrorism effort in the name of political correctness," said a former NYPD official. "Shame on the NYPD if they do."
Critics of the report claim it unfairly taints all Muslims as terrorists and leads to religious profiling of followers of Islam.
The news that the police report could be part of a settlement in the lawsuits comes as Paris is reeling from the Jan. 7 terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper by two gunmen who claimed to be acting on behalf of al-Qaida. An Islamic terrorist also attacked a Jewish supermarket in Paris two days later.
Terrorists acting alone last year attacked soft targets in Sydney, Australia, and Ottawa, Canada. In Boston, jury selection is underway in the trial of the surviving suspect in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack
The NYPD report
referred to the "unremarkable" lone terrorists who attack on behalf of Islamic jihadists organizations such as al-Qaida.
"Rather than being directed from al-Qaida abroad, these plots have been conceptualized and planned by 'unremarkable' local residents/citizens who sought to attack their country of residence, utilizing al-Qaida as their inspiration and ideological reference point," the report said.
"Understanding this trend and the radicalization process in the West that drives 'unremarkable' people to become terrorists is vital for developing effective counter-strategies and has special importance for the NYPD and the City of New York. As one of the country's iconic symbols and the target of numerous terrorist plots since the 1990's, New York City continues to be among the top targets of terrorists worldwide."
The report said the new breed of terrorist is an ordinary person, typically with a routine job, but radicalized by the jihadist teachings heard from Islamist preachers or read on terrorist websites.
"The Internet is a driver and enabler for the process of radicalization," the report said.
The lone-wolf terrorist is usually fairly well-educated and between the ages of 18 and 35. They tend to be second- or third-generation sons or daughters of immigrants from Islamic nations.
But recent converts to Islam can be more dangerous because their "need to prove their religious convictions to their companions often makes them the most aggressive," the report said.
Under former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the report served as the basis for a police undercover unit to look for possible terrorist plots in mosques and social sites where Muslims gathered.
Muslim groups filed two lawsuits in Brooklyn federal court after the Associated Press exposed the surveillance program in 2011.
The new police commissioner, Bill Bratton, disbanded the unit in April.
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