By Jim Kouri
In a poll sure to anger or disappoint several leaders of Muslim civil-rights groups and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers said they support the New York City Police Department’s counterterrorism strategy and operations, a new survey reveals.
Among New York City voters, 63 percent approve while 31 percent disapprove of the way New York police are doing their job and 58 percent say that NYPD police officers act appropriately in dealing with Muslims, while 29 percent say the police act inappropriately, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday.
Voters say 82 – 14 percent that the NYPD has been effective combating terrorism, the independent Quinnipiac University poll reveals.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gets a 64 – 25 percent approval rating, including 51 – 35 percent among black voters.
However, New York City voters are not as enthusiastic over the police use of “stop and frisk” with 46 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving. White voters approve 59 – 36 percent, while disapproval is 68 – 27 percent among black voters and 52 – 43 percent among Hispanic voters.
“New Yorkers brush aside the gripes about police surveillance of the Muslim community. Voter approval of the way police are handling terrorism is through the roof and overall approval for police in general and for Commissioner Ray Kelly’s [isn’t suffering] from [Muslims’] criticism,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
There is a small gender gap on the question of how police treat Muslims: treatment is appropriate, men say 61 – 29, compared to 56 – 29 percent among women. Racial and partisan gaps are wider: white voters say the NYPD is appropriate 66 – 22 percent, compared to 45 – 41 percent among black voters; Republicans say appropriate 88 – 9, compared to 51 – 35 among Democrats and 59 – 28 percent among independent voters.
By a 54 – 23 percent margin, New York City voters have a favorable opinion of Islam and say (65 – 18 percent) that mainstream Islam is a peaceful religion. Voters who know a Muslim personally have a favorable view of Islam 63 – 21 percent and say 72 – 16 percent that Islam is a peaceful religion.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have maintained that the NYPD’s actions are legal and necessary in a city under constant threat of another terrorist attack.
On Monday, March 5, as reported in The Examiner, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, joined a group of American Muslim leaders to show their support for the New York Police Department’s highly successful counterterrorism efforts, a NYC police officer told the Law Enforcement Examiner.