When Muslim Community Patrol & Services rolled their police-cruiser-like cars onto the streets of New York City in November 2018, there was no prior media briefing, no public announcement, no ceremony or grand unveiling.
Not surprisingly, the sight of official-looking cars – made to look like police New York City cars — emblazoned with the words “Muslim Community Patrol” cruising the avenues of Brooklyn and Staten Island—in the United States of America—was quick to generate news coverage, commentary and alarm.
Most of the mainstream American media reacted in typical fashion. Ever fearful of offending radicalized Muslim communities or digging too deeply into unsavory truths, they gushed in glowing news reports about the new patrol cars and portrayed them as a “neighborhood watch” for Muslim-dominated areas.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said the Muslim patrol units would help keep the city safe and vowed that his administration would help organizers acquire more police-style cars and equipment.
“We believe we need to do more to assist them,” he told NY1 News.
Muslim Patrols Initially Billed as Safety Patrols but the Message Changed Quickly
Community-based safety patrols are in fact not unusual in the Big Apple. From crime-prevention (groups like the Guardian Angels) to the Brooklyn South Safety Patrol (a Jewish civilian patrol), New York City has seen its share of neighborhood watch groups.
Some of those patrols have even become embroiled in controversy of their own, with the Jewish patrol once being described as “bullies” and criticized as acting like “judge, jury and executioner.”
Unlike other New York City safety patrols, however, MCP&S attracted suspicion, alarm and consternation from the very start. But the backlash from concerned citizens, political groups and conservative news organizations has been to no avail.
The liberal Brooklyn news organization Bklyner declared: “Muslim Community Patrol & Services is here to stay.”
Whether they actually are here to stay might depend on more than a pontificating headline. For the moment, however, Muslim Community Patrol cars are on the streets of New York City with organizers planning to expand their humble fleet of three cars to nearly 30 fully operational units in the near future.
At the outset of the cars’ deployment, MCP&S Vice President Noor Rabah repeatedly claimed that his “officers” were nothing more than a watchdog group that would act as a liaison between the Muslim community and the NYPD, because his officers know Muslim culture, “lingo” and “vibes.”
“They (Muslims) know we are approachable. We can speak, mingle, talk,” he told Spectrum News NY 1 in early January 2019.
That message swiftly changed four months later on March 15, after the much-publicized massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which resulted in 51 deaths.
MCP&S now describes their role as that of a much needed defense and security force for the Muslim community and its mosques. On their official Facebook page the group states, “Our goal is to ensure that our brothers and sisters in Islam are protected.”
In addition, Rahab told the BBC that his Muslim Community Patrol is “security on steroids.”
Such bold claims of providing “security” and protection, however, could put MPC&S at odds with New York state and city laws, which require security companies and their paid employees to go through the rigorous process of obtaining licenses, which MCP&S does not have.
Licensed guards must also submit to FBI background checks, be fingerprinted, and attend training classes. Regardless of its legal status as a security company or its publicized purpose of being a watchdog group, organizers privately admit that MCP&S was established to do more than protect Muslims, guard mosques or be a neighborhood watch.
It was also created for a purpose familiar to anyone who has lived in a Muslim-governed state: to enforce Sharia law on citizens.