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New Jersey state troopers get lesson on “misconceptions” about Islam

“New Jersey state troopers schooled in Muslim culture,” by Hannan Adely for The Record, October 8:

If a police officer pulls over a female driver wearing a veil covering all but her eyes, can he demand that she lift the veil so he can identify her?Before a classroom of state police recruits, Mohammad Ali Chaudry, a Muslim scholar, explained that there’s no religious reason for her to refuse. She has to obey the laws of her country “for everybody’s security,” he said.

Questions about the veil and other facets of Islamic faith and culture are at the heart of the one-hour class, now a requirement for every New Jersey state trooper, that emerged from anxiety and acrimony following news last year that New York City detectives were spying on New Jersey Muslims.

But is one hour of teaching, out of a solid week of police training, enough to markedly improve relations between police officers and wary Muslim communities across the state?

Note that it is up to the state troopers to try to rebuild relations. There is no expectation that the Muslim community has to do anything to rebuild those relations. Despite the fact that the only reason why there was surveillance in the first place was because of Islamic jihad attacks, Muslim communities in New Jersey have successfully turned the playing field around and portrayed themselves as victims to whom authorities must reach out.

Chaudry, president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and a Rutgers professor, said it’s a start.One result of strong backlash to spying by the New York Police Department was the creation of the Muslim Outreach Committee, a group of about 20 Muslim leaders and top law-enforcement officials that began meeting a year ago. The training, which is included in classwork this week at the state criminal justice academy in Sea Girt, is one of several committee efforts aimed at building trust.

“When we first started, there was anger and hostility,” said Imam Mustafa El-Amin, who heads the Masjid Ibrahim mosque in Newark. “Now it has actually developed to achievements and goals as opposed to just talking and airing out who’s guilty and who’s not.”

Almost certain not to be discussed is the question of where in the texts and teachings of Islam did those who are guilty get the idea that they should wage jihad warfare against Infidels, and of what can be done to mitigate the power of those texts and teachings to incite believers to violence. Raising questions like that would be “Islamophobic.”

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said the training is helping to bridge the divide.“We don’t agree all the time on every issue, but we do agree we’ll talk about them, and that has gotten us miles ahead in the process,” he said.

New state police recruits are attending the class through Oct. 11. Other recruits and veteran troopers will get the training by video as part of regular in-service training.

In a recent class, a few officers stared at their cellphones while Chaudry was lecturing. Questions were encouraged, but only two out of about 120 people in the class asked any.

Chaudry said it was a challenge to cover Islam in an hour and have time for questions. In his Rutgers class, he devotes 90 minutes just to talk about the term jihad, he said.

“It’s not going to change everybody’s view, and it’s going to take a lot more than a one-hour lecture, but at least it’s a beginning,” he said.

This article doesn’t say what Chaudry said about jihad for 90 minutes, but given how these things generally go, his talk was likely devoted to exploding the “misconception” that jihad involves warfare against unbelievers for the purpose of subjugating them under the rule of Islamic law. The insuperable problem that such presentations always face is that so many Muslims worldwide are behaving as if that is exactly what jihad involves, no matter what smooth apologists say to New Jersey state troopers. Recently when I debated Islamic apologist Shadid Lewis, I quoted numerous Islamic authorities teaching that jihad means warfare against unbelievers. Lewis in turn quoted others saying that it meant other things. So I then asked Lewis if what he was saying was true, why did so many Muslims, including clerics and Islamic scholars, misunderstand the concept of jihad so drastically? Predictably, he never addressed that. If Chaudry was spreading the same kind of steaming, pungent nonsense that Lewis was, and he probably was, it is understandable that some of the officers were staring at their cellphones.

Read the rest at http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/10/new-jersey-state-troopers-get-lesson-on-misconceptions-about-islam.html

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