Sunday, August 10, 2008

Seattle Muslims Urge Balance in Police Training on Islam

Seattle Muslims Urge Balance in Police Training on Islam

'Former Muslim' will 'contextualize' Israeli experience for Port of Seattle

SEATTLE, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 Muslim 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.

SEE: Security Solutions International

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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

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.

SEE: FBI Says Men in Ferry Photo were Innocent Sightseers

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.

CONTACT: CAIR-WA President Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,
202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications
Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail:

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations

CAIR-WA President Arsalan Bukhari, +1-206-931-3655,, CAIR
National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, +1-202-488-8787,
+1-202-744-7726,, or CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina
Rubin, +1-202-488-8787,

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