(SEATTLE, WA, 5/22/2008) – The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) is calling on Port of Seattle Police to ensure that a two-day training course that begins today, titled “The Threat of Islamic Jihadists to the World,” will offer a balanced perspective on Islam and Muslims.
SEE: “The Threat of Islamic Jihadists to the World”
CAIR-WA said local Muslims leaders recently met with Chief of Port of Seattle Police Colleen Wilson to express their concerns that the course, which is being taught by a “former Muslim” and claims to be “based on Israeli experience,” will promote stereotypes and religious and ethnic profiling.
Among the course’s advertised contents are non-terror-related topics such as: Arab naming conventions, the five pillars of Islam, the “formative phases of the Islamic religion,” and the fast of Ramadan. The course is being taught by a “former Muslim.” Representatives from a number of law enforcement agencies will attend the training.
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Chief Wilson agreed to have Muslim officers attend the training and evaluate the course for objectivity and balance.
“Linking any faith to violence and criminal activity creates the potential for stereotyping and could lead to an increase in religious and ethnic profiling,” said CAIR-WA President Arsalan Bukhari. “We urge Port of Seattle Police to ensure that the course offers accurate and balanced information on Islam and Muslims.”
Bukhari said an incident in which apparently innocent travelers in the state were profiled for their “Middle Eastern” appearance points to the need for police training that deals with issues of profiling and bias.
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He added that Muslims nationwide are concerned about the information law enforcement authorities are receiving on the subject of Islam.
Last month, CAIR’s chapter in Pennsylvania (CAIR-PA) called on police training officials in that state to offer a Muslim perspective in a mandatory police training class because of concerns that the class would present stereotypical views of Islam and Muslims.
SEE: Penn. Muslims Seek ‘Balance’ in Police Training on Islam
Earlier this month, a spokesman for CAIR’s Chicago office said an emergency preparedness drill in Illinois, in which a fake “mosque” was stormed by law enforcement authorities, sent the “wrong message” that all Islamic houses of worship may be potential security threats. An official later apologized for using the “mosque” in the drill.
SEE: IL Official Apologizes for Using Fake ‘Mosque’ in Drill
CAIR-WA representatives say they will continue to dialogue with the local law enforcement community and to provide accurate information on Islam and Muslims through on-going monthly Muslim-Sikh-Arab Advisory Council meetings.
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-WA President Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org