(HOUSTON, TX, 6/27/08) – The Houston chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Houston) today welcomed an apology from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department for e-mails circulated in the department that included derogatory statements and bigoted jokes about Muslims and Latinos.
Recent media reports indicated that the e-mails included cartoons and statements suggesting that law enforcement officers should be suspicious of all Muslims in the United States. An e-mail from a top commander in the sheriff’s department to another official said, “we continue to under estimate [sic] these ‘dumb’ foriegners [sic].” The official’s reply expressed concern over the “number of foreigners who own gas stations.”
SEE: Community Outrage Over Sheriff’s Department Emails (ABC 13)
“These crude and derogatory messages are particularly disturbing because they were distributed by law enforcement officers who are entrusted with upholding public safety and operate based on public trust,” said CAIR-Houston Communication Coordinator Asma Siddiqi. “We welcome the sheriff’s apology and hope policies and procedures are implemented to prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future.”
Siddiqi added that a town hall meeting with the sheriff’s department and local community leaders, including CAIR-Houston representatives, has been scheduled to open up dialogue about citizen concerns.
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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CONTACT: CAIR-Houston Communication Coordinator Asma Siddiqi, Tel: 713.838.2247; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org