The controversy over the film comes on the back of Muslim anger directed at the police department’s exposed secret program to gather intelligence on Muslim neighborhoods across the city. FirstpostNew York City’s Muslims called on Wednesday for Ray Kelly, commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD), to step down after he admitted he cooperated with filmmakers of The Third Jihad, a documentary film on the rise of radical Islam, which was screened for 1,500 police officers during counter-terrorism training. NYPD deputy commissioner Paul Browne confirmed that Kelly took part in an interview with the film’s director, Erik Werth, in 2007. Browne also said Kelly expressed regret at the decision. “Commissioner Kelly told me today that the video was objectionable,” Browne said, “and that he should not have agreed to the interview five years ago, when I recommended it.” Of course, Kelly’s sudden remorse follows a bit of arm-twisting. Browne and Kelly only admitted their involvement in the film after producer Raphael Shore e-mailed The New York Times and provided a date and time of the interview. Mayor Bloomberg said the New York police department used “terrible judgement” in screening The Third Jihad. The Village Voice described the film as “72 minutes of gruesome footage of bombing carnage, frenzied crowds, burning American flags, flaming churches and seething mullahs.” The controversy over the film comes on the back of Muslim anger directed at the police department’s exposed secret program to gather intelligence on Muslim neighborhoods across the city. Now a patchwork of Muslim groups, including the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC), is demanding the resignation of Kelly and Browne. “Under Kelly’s watch, the NYPD has developed an approach to policing counterterrorism that seems to start from a place of suspicion for New Yorkers with any identifying Muslim characteristics,” said law school progessor Amna Akbar who is the supervising attorney at Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility. “It is unethical and illegal for the NYPD to conflate religion, race, and national origin with suspicion for terrorism. The NYPD needs to make some serious changes to its divisive and troubled approach to Muslim communities,” added Akbar who is a professor at the CUNY School of Law. The main thrust of the film is that lurking behind those veils and Muslim prayer caps is a secret plan to impose a religious order out of the Dark Ages here in the United States. It is almost laughable that the favourite image in The Third Jihad — shown over and over — is an enormous black-and-white Islamic flag flying over the White House.” “NYPD officials should not have permitted and actively participated in the screening and creation of such hateful propaganda produced by a special interest organisation,” added Nermeen Arastu, staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.