OK: REACHING OUT TO MUSLIMS
Those who fight terrorism, from the White House to the FBI, say the most prominent terrorists are “Muslim extremists,” which raised concerns how to approach Islamic citizens and visitors in Oklahoma.
Muslim leaders and FBI agents met behind closed doors in March for the Muslim Community Outreach Program, which aims to teach law enforcement about Muslims and vice versa. The groups met at the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City.
Imad Enchassi, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said the closed-door session allowed for both sides to be more critical than if the press and public were in attendance. The next meeting, in June, is open to the public.
Enchassi, born in Beirut, said Muslims nationwide are initiating similar programs to form a better relationship with members of law enforcement.
“We are hoping this will bring Muslims’ civil liberties back and help law enforcement with their job,” said Enchassi, a Muslim Imam.
Edmond Police Detective David Otwell is a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and is the program’s co-coordinator.
“When it comes to terrorism-related activities, you’re looking at Muslim extremists,” Otwell said. “Where would these individuals possibly be? In the Muslim community.
“Keep in mind, 99.9 percent of your Muslim community are very good, honest, upstanding citizens who want to live and work here in the United States,” Otwell said.