A police officer listens to Tamer Ahmed of CAIR
Can you imagine, during World War II, German-Americans or Japanese-Americans giving lectures to law enforcement officials on how to avoid discrimination? No, Ibrahim, I am not advocating internment camps. I am pointing out that in a saner age, groups from which sprang enemies of the nation were anxious to prove their loyalty and help out with the war effort.
In other words, when will CAIR hold a seminar for law enforcement officials on how to spot radical Muslims, where they are likely to congregate, what the warning signs are when a Muslim is tempted to turn radical, how a radical Muslim can be converted to the gentler variety they supposedly espouse, and so on?
When will, as Agent Azure wondered, CAIR hold a seminar on how to prevent honor killings, which have already begun to happen in North America? Or hold a seminar on how to distinguish taqiyya from truth in Muslim spokesmen?
From the Sacramento Bee, with thanks to Agent Azure:
During a traffic stop, the driver avoids eye contact with the police officer.
If the person is Muslim, the gesture isn’t necessarily a sign of evasion or deceit. The person could be following religious teachings about modesty when dealing with someone of the opposite sex.
“It’s a sign of respect,” said Tamer Ahmed, an executive committee member of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Such information was relayed during a presentation on American Muslims and Islam that CAIR, a Muslim civil rights organization, provided to Elk Grove police supervisors Thursday afternoon.
Elk Grove is the first law enforcement agency in the Sacramento region to which the Sacramento Valley chapter has provided diversity training. The training is scheduled to be given to the Sacramento Police Department’s graduating recruits next month. There also is discussion about having patrol officers in the Sacramento and Elk Grove police departments go through the seminar.
With more than 50,000 Muslims living in the greater Sacramento area, law enforcement needs to be aware and sensitive to what Islam is, and to the beliefs and customs. The information can help police when they interact with Muslims, Ahmed said.
“There’s a lot of misunderstandings about who Muslims are and what they believe in,” he said.
Hate crimes and incidents against Muslims have risen dramatically after Sept. 11, 2001, and since the war in Iraq began. In a report released earlier this month, the council’s national office logged 1,019 incidents of violence and discrimination against Muslims in 2003, the largest number of complaints recorded by the Washington, D.C.-based group.
You can read about the tendentious nature of that report, albeit swallowed whole by this reporter and many others, here.
The Muslim community needs law enforcement to protect them from the backlash, while police officials want the cooperation of the community in its investigations, said Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman at CAIR’s national headquarters. Outreach efforts need to be happening from both sides, she said.
“In order to build trust, you need to show sincere efforts to learn about the community,” she said. …
The seminar was designed to bridge the cultural gap so officers can understand why, for example, there might be a delay in opening the door when officers go to a Muslim home. Don’t assume the family is not cooperative; it may be a woman is putting on her hijab or head covering, Tamer Ahmed said.
Elk Grove Police Lt. Barbara Bravos, who worked with CAIR’s Sacramento Valley chapter to arrange the training, said it is important that officers are attuned to different cultural and religious practices.
“Our intent is the more knowledge we have about each other, the easier it’s going to be to do business and get the information we need,” she said.
Sgt. Art Olsen said the workshop can help correct stereotypes and misinformation that people may have about Muslims.
“It’s venues like this where we’re educated and we overcome those biases,” he said.