By River Redclay
Colorful Angels grace us with their presence along the downtown city streets of Los Angeles where these full-blown painted and winged statutes stand as a metaphor of light and hope in the City of Angels. “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula” (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula) or more commonly called the “City of Angels and took it’s name by a Spanish governor in 1781.
The Spanish tradition of spirituality heavily influenced and integrated from the Native Indian spiritual tradition has tried to extend mercy and compassion and serenity to all inhabitants of city and town dwellers. It is with this tradition that the Mexican Americans, Native Americans, African Americans have tried to live in harmony in the City of Angels. It has been an up-hill battle because of inner-racial conflicts, however all are learning to cope with the fact that we are all here and we better learn to get along and love one another. More recently the Muslim American community in Los Angeles has called upon its angels through God as a mercy to its LA neighbors, co-workers and friends. The streets illuminated with the light of God and the angels looking out for the Cop in the dark, the young lady walking across the Temple street Bridge in the cool of the evening protected by the homeboys. After all, it was the East Los Angeles gang members who apprehended the infamous “Night Stalker” (Richard Ramirez) in the mid-1980s and handed him over to the LAPD. We are a community of help in LA for each other and hope that the local city governance and agencies will support the long since tradition of hope and help and especially with minority populations.
Yet, we see again the tradition has been broken by our trusted agencies and once again the LAPD has gone too far as usual.
Today I learned that the LAPD along with the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Chief of Police announced their “Muslim Mapping” project within the greater Los Angeles County as part of the US counter terrorism program. Their plans are as follows:
• Lay out geographic locations of Muslim groups around the city.
• Identify groups that might be susceptible to ideologically based extremism and propaganda.
• Study the language, culture, history, socioeconomic conditions and country of origin of various communities and neighborhoods.
• Help groups integrate into broader society by offering access to government and social services
Ok…I understand… So the LAPD under the influence and guidance of Homeland Security is now labeling Los Angeles area MUSLIMS AS TERRORISTS. Yes, that means you and I have hit the ten most wanted list. Not the Rolling 60s “Six 0” gang Crips nor the 18 street Mexican Mafia Gang, two of hundreds of such terrorist organizations operating in Los Angeles, not them, but you and I. Muslim’s are now suspect of being capable of heinous crimes. Well, now, lets just see what the LAPD will find when they study and map our communities:
Muslim Angelinos with an
• Above average education
• Living in affluent neighborhoods as good neighbors
• Active in and apart of the greater social Los Angeles society
• Contributors to social justice
• Helpers of all citizenry
Thank you very much LAPD. What a way to start the day out, with an insult by the LAPD no less in front of the entire LA community. The infamous LAPD has yet again has shined its true colors again by invoking its racist and bigotry upon this time Los Angeles Muslim Americans. Well, I don’t think so Mr. Michael Downing, (LAPD’s counter terrorism chief.) I wont let you call me a terrorist. I am an Angelino and a Veterano (Spanish for veteran) of this city. I grew up in the LA section of Echo Park just a few miles North East of Hollywood. Echo Park where gang members would dump bodies of rival gangs into the lake. Where was the LAPD then? Yah, I remember seeing it with my own eyes. My neighbor was the leader of White Fence, the eldest generation gang to survive since the Boulevard Nights. He was a good neighbor and passed out fireworks on the fourth of July. It was the gangs, not the LAPD that protected us in the neighborhood. Now, the LAPD cracked down on these gangs with internal reasons, which included the 1980s “War on Drugs.” The LAPD has conspired upon many communities in the name of “To Serve and Protect.” The Zuit Suit Riots of the 1940s and 50s, which demonized the Latinos. The LAPD CRASH program (Community Resources against Street Hoodlums), which targeted Black males and planted drugs on them during the War on Drugs. I am a Veteran and I remember it all and how about the LA Riots of 1992 in which the LAPD backed off from protecting the community members of South Central, and more recently, the public beatings of Mexican protesters at Lafayette Park.
The LAPD does not represent Angelinos and we are here to tell you that your mapping program is not welcome in our community and neither is a political conversion or a hate-filled conversation that’s not in order. Don’t come into our communities and call us names and expect to get away with it. We are all for rooting out terrorists and it would be un-American of us and un-Islamic of us not to root them out. However, we are insulted by the LAPD mapping program because of its stereotypical name-calling nature. Once again the LAPD has failed to represent the community at large. We will work with governmental agencies that have every ones best interest and more importantly respect us as human beings.
The Noble Qur’an Ar-Ra’d 13:11
For each (person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. they guard him by the Command of Allâh. Verily! Allâh will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allâh). But when Allâh wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector.
The city of angels
I drive on her streets
‘Cause she’s my companion
I walk through her hills
‘Cause she knows who I am
She sees my good deeds
And she kisses me windy.
At least I have her love
The city she loves me- The City of Angels ( The Red Hot Chilly Peppers)
For a full and continuously updated post on the LAPD Mapping Fiasco visit:
there are things that people can do such as sign petitions, write letters, call people and other suggestions so the post serves as a good begining point in understanding the issue (connecting articles and posts in one place) and also as a tool for activists and concerned allies and community members. (this post is linked there as well)
Thanks for the reflection.
Affad’s full and and continuous updates have moved to http:muslim-mapping.blogspot.com !