LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Police Department announced a mapping program used by its anti-terrorism bureau to identity likely terrorist breeding grounds in Muslim areas.
Michael P. Downing, a deputy Los Angeles police chief, detailed a joint program with the University of Southern California to compile mapping data demarcating Muslim areas deemed "at-risk communities," the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
"We are looking for communities and enclaves based on risk factors that are likely to become isolated," Downing said.
Civil liberties and Muslim groups decried the project saying it is "nothing short of racial profiling."
"When the starting point for a police investigation is 'let's look at all Muslims,' we are going down a dangerous road," said Peter Bibring, a lawyer with the ACLU of Southern California, in an interview with The New York Times.
Hussam Ayloush, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, said the project "turns the LAPD officers into religious political analysts, while their role is to fight crime and enforce the laws."
Downing said the Muslim Public Affairs Council accepted the program "in concept."
"We will work with the LAPD and give them input, while at the same time making sure that people's civil liberties are protected," Salam Al-Marayati, the group's director, said in the Los Angeles Times.