The appearance of a new volunteer patrol group in New York City spurred familiar but false accusations.
Vehicles bearing the Muslim Community Patrol Service’s name (MCPS) and emblem were first spotted in parts of Brooklyn in December 2018, prompting media personality Laura Loomer to post a photograph of one of the vehicles above the caption “The job of the people driving the cars is to enforce Sharia law. In case you never thought Sharia would be in America, well, it’s here. I HAVE BEEN WARNING ALL OF YOU!!! Time to wake up people. #NoSharia #911 #Neverforget”:
While Sharia, a faith-based code of conduct, does exist, Loomer’s post was among a cascade of falsehoods claiming that Muslims are intent on staging a takeover of the U.S.
MCPS Vice President Noor Rabah dismissed the accusation that the group’s purpose was to “enforce Sharia law”:
It’s not about “Sharia Law.” It’s about Muslims taking care of people in our community. But it’s not just Muslims. If we’re driving or we’re patrolling and we see a guy attacking a woman we don’t ask “What’s your religion? What do you believe in? Who’s your God?” We’re there for preventative measures and it doesn’t matter who’s going through what — white, black, orange, green, nun, hijabi, we’re there to help our community.
Like other local community patrol groups, MCPS members do not have the authority to arrest people. Rabah said the group had around 30 regular members, with 30 others volunteering services on a more limited basis. The photographs seen online, he maintained, captured the group’s patrol vehicle on what he called a “dry run” before the MCPS program’s formal launch in 2019.
“Most of our patrolling is going to be motor patrol,” Rabah said. “We will be driving. The goal is that with our presence, there will be a preventative measure for people who are inclined toward crime — that seeing the car would stop the average criminal. That’s one thing. Two, if we were to see something we would say something; if we see suspicious activity, if we see someone’s driving drunk [or] causing a disturbance, just by being in these areas we can contact 911 a lot quicker than someone who is in trouble before things get out of proportion.”
Besides acting as “eyes and ears” for police, he added, MCPS members are already connected to their communities enough to defuse situations while avoiding potential cultural misunderstandings.
“We’re not here to arrest people,” he said. “Rather, if we see for example a young man smoking weed — we know him, we can come up to him, greet him and say, ‘You might not care if a cop came to you right now and stopped you but you probably would care if your mom or dad found out that you were smoking weed.’”
While more than 30 members had already received certification in New York City’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program and each member must pass a background check, Rabah said, the MCPS had already won the support of officials in the New York Police Department’s 72nd District and planned to work with them to receive further training.
However a department spokesperson, Sgt. Jessica McRorie, seemingly offered a negative reaction toward MCPS’ vehicles in an interview with the website PJ Media, saying “This is not an NYPD vehicle. The NYPD did not outfit or label this vehicle. This group is not officially sanctioned by the NYPD and they are subject to the law.”
By comparison, the website reported, the department endorsed another civilian patrol group, the Brooklyn Asian Safety Patrol (BASP), going so far as to allow it to use an official logo. PJ Media offered nothing that demonstrated the MCPS could, or planned to, “enforce Sharia law,” beyond engaging in the speculative hypothetical that the MCPS might somehow “apply … Sharia in its community monitoring”:
Given this background, the NYPD’s full-throated insistence that there is no link between the Big Apple’s police and the MCP suggests that the Islamic group does not enjoy the same status and training as [the Jewish patrol group] Shomrim or BASP.
If the Muslim Community Patrol is off-book and does not coordinate with the NYPD, it may apply specific readings of Sharia (Islamic law) in its community monitoring. Since some forms of Sharia advocate honor killings, child brides, and other abuses, they may directly violate some American or New York City laws.
Rabah asserted that his group’s vehicles were approved by the 72nd Precinct before the test run. “We’re not looking for someone to ‘outfit’ our car,” he said. “We’re looking for equal respect.”
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said McRorie’s remark “deserves further clarification by the NYPD.” We asked the NYPD whether they shared the site’s concern regarding “Sharia Law” and whether any officials had met with members of the Muslim patrol, but the department did not respond prior to publication.
Both MCPS and BASP, along with Shomrim, were honored by Brooklyn Borough President Erik Adams and Kings County District Attorney Eric Sanchez at a ceremony on 2 January 2019.
During the ceremony, Adams called for additional funding to be offered to community patrol groups.
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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