(LOS ANGELES, CA, 2/22/08) - Representatives of the Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), along with other community organizations, participated in the first meeting of the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Muslim Community Forum on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the OmarIbnAl-Khattab Foundation.
Other groups taking part in the meeting included the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Project Islamic Hope,Bilal Islamic Center,the Council on Pakistani American Affairs, the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County,Muslim American Societyand the Islamic Institute of Orange County.
The forum, which came in response to the controversy over a proposed LAPD "mapping" of the city's Muslim community, seeks to re-establish trust and dialogue between Los Angeles area Muslims and thepolice department. The "mapping" plan was abandoned after strong opposition from Muslim and civil rights groups over the possibility of profiling and other concerns.
"We welcome the LAPD's efforts to reach out to the Los Angeles Muslim community to rebuild trust, cooperation and understanding," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "It is important for American Muslims to continue to be engaged in their local communities in order to foster partnerships and ensure that they are treated as equal citizens."
Ayloush said the group will meet quarterly and is similar to Chief William Bratton's other five forums with community groups of Los Angeles. Each forum has the goal of strengthening partnerships and addressing community issues.
In additionto the Muslim Community Forum, CAIR andSouthern CaliforniaMuslimshave previously initiatedand participated inother partnerships with law enforcement. Theseinclude:Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee (with the FBI Los Angelesbureau), Muslim American Homeland Security Congress (with Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department), andDHS Roundtable (with the Department of Homeland Security).
Theseforumsare designed to assist law enforcement officials in formulating policies that create a culturally-sensitive environment and a cooperative spirit between American Muslims and law enforcement agencies, while strengthening the security of our nation andlocal communities.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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