The government-affairs chief of a Muslim group and a civil-liberties attorney said Wednesday they were satisfied that Attorney General Bill McCollum is not spreading religious bias by showing state employees a film about terrorism.
McCollum met Tuesday with a group of citizens concerned about the film "Obsession," which was shown to employees in his department last month. Employees were not required to see it, but McCollum's staff arranged three screenings on state property during working hours.
Representatives of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles and the Florida chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations asked McCollum to discuss the film with them. Jamila Baraka, governmental relations director for CAIR-Florida, and Larry Spalding, a Tallahassee attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said they were concerned that the film presented a biased view of Islamic faith and culture.
"We were happy that he accepted our invitation," said Baraka. "He didn't disassociate himself with the film but was open to distinguishing between terrorists and mainstream Muslims."
She said McCollum agreed to include other information, such as panel discussions on issues, if it is used again for any training purpose. The attorney general was not available for comment, but department spokeswoman Sandi Copes said a fair presentation would be used in law-enforcement training and other programs through McCollum's civil-rights office.