Muslim Mapping by LA Police causes uproar

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The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has caused an uproar by proposed to use census and other demographic data to map out predominately Muslim populations in Los Angeles. While the proposal is to reach out to those communities with social services, the LAPD would use the data to pinpoint isolated Muslim communities in order to use preventative measures to prevent extremism. This had lead to cries of religious profiling to which Police Chief William Bratton countered, “This is not . . . targeting or profiling. It is an effort to understand communities.” Controversy aside, from an mapping perspective, questions are being raised as to whether it’s even possible to accurately create geographic data showing Muslim communities. The U.S. Census is barred by law from asking about religion and identifying religious affiliation by ancestry is not possible either. “It’s not realistic to think you are going to be able to find out where all the Muslims are,” said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

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