Following the tragic events of Sept. 11, Arab and Muslim-Americans across the country have faced political, legislative, and social repercussions that have led to the alienation, stigmatization--and in some cases, violence--against Muslim community members. Among rising hate crimes and anti-Muslim rhetoric, law enforcement agencies have experienced pressure to incorporate tactics such as immigration enforcement, intelligence gathering, surveillance, and racial profiling in "counter-terrorism" training intended to thwart future terrorist attacks.
A study conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice in 2008 concluded that there still was a significant concern and skepticism towards law enforcement agencies in many Muslim communities. According to the study, "some Arab-American communities said they were more afraid of law enforcement agencies [...] than they were of acts of hate or violence."
In an effort to mend the relations and build trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) recently addressed this important issue as part of the COPS monthly podcasts series. In this podcast, Abed Ayoub, Legal Director of the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Committee, discussed how law enforcement can do a better job of relating to Arab and Muslim-American communities while developing mutual trust and respect.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
Ayoub stressed that honesty, respect and open lines of communication are key factors in not only addressing, but also understanding the oftentimes tight-knit Arab and Muslim-American communities.
"[There] is a lot of information out there that is wrong," said Ayoub. "A lof of information about the community that's floating around that needs to be rectified."
For more information about community policing services, visit the COPS website.