(LOS ANGELES, CA, 3/25/10) ­- Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca recently took part in a town hall meeting organized by the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress at which he expressed strong solidarity with and support for engagement with American Muslims to help keep our nation secure.
The town hall, held at Omar ibn Al-Khattab Foundation in Los Angeles, followed Sheriff Baca’s testimony at a hearing last week before the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he stated:
“Americans, particularly elected officials, should not claim Islam supports terrorism. This is counter-productive to trust. It plays into the terrorist strategy that the West is against Islam. At this time in our history, with billions of dollars being spent on a war against terror, our nation should ask that all Americans follow President Obama’s example and be the instrument of goodwill to Muslims throughout the world.”
At the town hall, Baca said he and American Muslims have worked closely, especially after the terror attacks of 9/11, to help protect the nation.
“I firmly believe that God did not give orders of death for anybody to take on that role,” said Baca.
Baca also reiterated his support for CAIR, a leading national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. He said CAIR represents average American Muslims and that, “When you attack CAIR, you attack virtually every Muslim in America.”
“The American Muslim community in Southern California is grateful for and proud of Sheriff Baca’s courage and leadership in making a clear stand against bigotry and recognizing American Muslim contributions to the fabric of our society,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush.
During last week’s hearing, Rep. Mark Souder (R-Indiana) raised doubts about Sheriff Baca’s support for Israel and questioned him about his working relationship with CAIR and his attendance at 10 CAIR fundraisers.
SEE: L.A. County Sheriff Defends Himself, Muslims after Attack by Indiana Lawmaker
Rep. Souder was previously quoted as saying of Islam, “fundamentally, it’s wrong,” and “I find their religion offensive.”
“The fundamentals of their religion is they want to kill Jews and wipe them off the face of the earth and any other allies. I simply am not going to praise a religion that believes that. I believe Jews are God’s chosen people,” Souder said. “It’s fundamental in their faith, from the very beginning, that Jews are dogs and should be wiped from the face of the earth,” Souder added.
SEE: Muslim American Homeland Security Group Commends Sheriff Baca
ALSO SEE: Sheriff Upset with Congressman’s Comments
MAHSC was founded in 2006 by Los Angeles Area Muslim leaders to build an effective partnership between the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and American Muslims and to help strengthen our country’s security.
Other Muslim leaders who participated in conducting the town hall were MAHSC Chairman Dafer Dakhil, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California Chairman Dr. Maher Hathout, Imam Abdul Karim Hassan of Masjid Bilal, and Muslim Public Affairs Council Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847, firstname.lastname@example.org