LOS ANGELES - On Oct. 30, 2007, Michael P. Downing, the commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Counter-Terrorism/Criminal Intelligence Bureau, testified before the Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the United States Senate that to better understand its Muslim communities and head off radicalization, the Los Angeles Police Department recently initiated a project to identify who the city's Muslims are and where they are located (read Downing's statement here)

The ACLU of Southern California, Muslim Advocates, the Islamic Shura Council and the Council on American Islamic Relations are concerned about this program and we are requesting a meeting with Deputy Chief Downing to talk about the nature and scope of the project and possible constitutional and civil liberty issues this program raises.

"Policing is never effective when it's based on religious profiling, and the LAPD should not be in the business of tagging Muslims or any community of faith as terrorists because that is discriminatory and divisive," said Ramona Riptson, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. 'Watching people because of their religious beliefs is as abhorrent as watching people for their political beliefs.'