(MIAMI, FL, 7/30/04) - The Florida office of the Washington-based Council
on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) met Wednesday with the FBI's Miami
Division to discuss ways to promote better relations between law
enforcement and the state's Muslim and Arab-American Communities.
Officials from the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Broward Sheriff's
Office, U.S. Attorney's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,
and the Intergovernmental Bureau of Homeland Security also took part in the
Acting Special Agent in Charge Mike Clements informed CAIR-FL that his
office will not tolerate any hate crimes against the Muslim community and
stressed that Americans of all faiths have the right to enjoy freedom and
must work together to protect America.
There was a broad agreement at the meeting that Muslim advocacy
organizations like CAIR-FL must be more involved in providing cultural and
sensitivity training to law enforcement officials. CAIR-FL and other
Islamic organizations represented at Wednesday's meeting pledged to do
their utmost in helping to make Florida and America more secure.
"We welcome the opportunity to do our share in protecting America," said
CAIR-FL Executive Director Altaf Ali. "Security need not be achieved at the
expense of civil liberties."
In a letter to CAIR-FL, City of Miami Police Department Commander Mario A.
Garcia wrote: "I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for the
educational experience which you and the rest of the Muslim Americans
provide me with at yesterday's meeting. I was impressed with your
presentation, your convictions as well as the loyalty and devotion which
you and the rest displayed not only towards the Muslim faith but also your
love for America."
"In this period of heightened security because of an increasing terrorism
threat, the FBI is convinced that the cooperation of all Americans, of all
faiths, is vitally important to preventing the next act of terrorism
against our homeland. That cooperation must be based on mutual respect and
understanding," said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Frank Figliuzzi.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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Representatives of CAIR's Kentucky office (CAIR-KY) recently met with the
Lexington FBI and the Chief of Lexington Police. The meetings focused on
how CAIR-KY can help protect and safeguard the community and what concerns
Muslims have about a variety of issues.
Participants in both meetings agreed in principal to attend a town hall
event with the Muslim community and law enforcement agencies in Kentucky.
CONTACT: CAIR-Kentucky, Abdul Quayyum, 859-221-9081
On Friday, July 30, a dozen mosques throughout Washington State will
deliver a sermon with a common theme: Muslims should participate in the
political process in the United States. Imams in Lynwood, Mountlake
Terrace, Olympia, Seattle, Sea Tac and University Place will discuss the
need for Muslims to vote and to take an active role in their communities.
Volunteers will be on hand at each of these locations to register eligible
people to vote.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Seattle (CAIR-Seattle) and
Hate Free Zone Washington have sponsored this coordinated effort to
encourage Muslims to vote in the upcoming elections. These two
organizations have undertaken a voter registration project with a goal of
registering 10,000 Muslim voters before the November 2nd election. So far,
the group has registered over 1,500 new voters.
CONTACT: Michaela Corning (CAIR), (206) 321-5769; Mubarak Elamin, 425-417-0138
Council on American-Islamic Relations
12351 Lake City Way NE, Suite 103
Seattle, WA 98125
Tel: (206) 465-0977
Fax: (206) 774-0436