NGUYEN: Well good morning to you on this Sunday. The FBI is looking for a few good men and women. The agency is reaching out to young Arab-Americans and trying to improve its image in the Muslim community. The story now from CNN’s Sumi Das.
SUMI DAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Call it show and tell FBI style.
DAS: At Giants Stadium in New Jersey, young Arab-Americans and their parents are learning about FBI agents’ work, and the bureau is getting some face time with a community it’s trying to better understand and whose help it needs to fight terrorism.
LESLIE WISER, FBI, NEWARD DIVISION: We are trying to reach out to the kids of the Muslim community. I think it’s very important that we establish a dialogue with them.
SUZANNE LOUTFY, THE EGYPTIAN-AMERICAN GROUP: Education is what is going on here today, exchange of knowledge. Who are you? Who am I? Who are you?
DAS: Some Muslim Americans say they felt a backlash after 9/11 which led to a distrust of the FBI.
KAREEM LOUTFY, 18 YEARS OLD: It’s just removing the negative stigma of law enforcement to the people, showing that law enforcement are just regular people that shouldn’t be scared of them.
DAS: The FBI isn’t looking to sign up new recruits at this event, but it does hope to spotlight what it can offer.
BRETT HOVINGTON, FBI COMMUNITY RELATIONS UNIT: Youth are very important and that’s across all communities, whether you’re talking in the Arab community. We have to do a better job of creating sort of a track atmosphere where youth come in and they are actually put through a process, sparking their interest, whether it’s forensics, whether it’s cyber crime, whether it’s white collar crime to give them the flavor of what the FBI does.
DAS: While not a traditional choice, some Muslim Americans say teens are considering careers at the FBI.
RABIA AHMED, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: It’s becoming more and more of an option for Muslims, because they are part of the fabric of this society. And they too want the security of this nation.
DAS: The 9/11 Commission cited the FBI’s lack of Arab-American agents as an area needing urgent attention. Officially the FBI won’t reveal how many it has. Privately, officials as of early last year, say there are about 20 in the entire bureau, but it does admit employing Arab-Americans at all levels of the FBI is important. In the words of one agent, the FBI wants to look like America. Sumi Das, CNN, Washington.