Department of Homeland Security Islamist payday to AMANA /AMER and Shukrijumah spokesman Zakkout?
October 3, 2007
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, October 03, 2007 I feel in debt to this great country. Specifically when the Medicaid covered me with the entire cost of both of my hips replacements which reached $350,000.00.
– Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout
On September 28th, more than $24 million was distributed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to organizations considered to be at high risk of a terrorist attack. Each organization chosen received up to $100,000. While many of the groups could probably make the case for why they needed the DHS funds, one in particular is of interest, as it has a number of terrorism ties, itself. And because those ties have been exposed, the decision to award it with a grant is now officially under DHS review.
American Muslims for Emergency Relief (AMER) is a non-profit 501(c)3 based in South Florida that claims to be "operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes." According to its website, it has assisted in numerous disasters, both inside the U.S. and overseas. Someone without any knowledge of the origins of AMER could easily believe that the "charity" is a worthy cause. Evidently that was the case, when DHS decided to dump thousands of dollars in AMER's lap – $70,000, to be exact. However, when one looks at the group from which AMER came from, he/she will find that the government's decision was nothing more than a terrifying lapse in judgment.
AMER is run by the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), out of AMANA's North Miami Beach address. The President of both AMER and AMANA is Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout. [AMER's Vice President, Rasheed Mahamad, and Secretary/Treasurer, Mustafa Nassar, are also directors of AMANA.] Shortly after he incorporated AMANA in September of 1999, Zakkout became involved with the Health Resource Center for Palestine (HRCP) as its Vice President.
While Zakkout was a leader in HRCP, the group told its followers, for HRCP "News Information & Updates," to view the websites of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), the American propaganda wing of Hamas, and Free Jerusalem, a site that, on its homepage, lauded the life and death ("martyrdom") of and featured numerous pictures of the former spiritual leader and founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. As well, while he was with HRCP, the group's Secretary and Treasurer was Syed Khawer Ahmad, the former webmaster of the official website of the Islamic Association, Al-Jamiya Al-Islamia, the parent organization of Hamas located in Gaza.
Around this time, Zakkout also held the position of President of the Shamsuddin Islamic Center. He incorporated the center in November of 2000, and like AMER, Zakkout would use the AMANA address as the business address for Shamsuddin. In August of 2003, Shamsuddin would welcome Gulshair Shukrijumah, an individual who had been involved with at least two of those convicted for their part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as a Director of the mosque. Shukrijumah died less than one year later, after suffering a series of strokes said to have been derived from his son Adnan's being named a "Global Terrorist" by the United States government. Zakkout, described in Gulshair's obituary as "a family friend" of the Shukrijumahs, announced the death.
After finishing his tenure with HRCP (the group was shut down in April of 2003), Zakkout focused the majority of his activities on AMANA, including the creation of a full blown website, complete with a large amount of anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-homosexual content. As well, within the site's links section, there were links to Jihad in Chechnya, one of the main websites that was raising money and recruiting fighters for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and the Al-Haramain Foundation, an Islamic "charity" that has been banned worldwide by the United Nations for being a financing arm to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. These links were placed on Zakkout's site over a year after 9/11.
Today, AMANA's website has been purged of much of its hatred and violence. Nevertheless, right on the group's homepage, there are links to IslamiCity, a website that repeatedly calls for the murder of Jews and repeatedly "curses" Jews and Christians; the official website of Bilal Philips, an individual whose name was placed on the list of "unindicted co-conspirators" of the ‘93 bombing; and Islam Online, a site that features live dialogues with Hamas leaders and a ‘Fatwa Bank' (religious ruling) section mandating terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.
Found on AMANA's website is a list of its advisors. One of the "AMANA Advisors" is Ibrahim Dremali, a former representative of the Southeast division of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA-SE), an organization that told its web viewers to give "material support" to groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda. In addition, Dremali was a witness for the defense of convicted terrorist Adham Hassoun, during Hassoun's August 2002 court hearing.
Zakkout had also defended Hassoun, stating, "They don't have anything against him. It's just because he is Muslim... The guy is clean." Hassoun, meanwhile, had been charged with being part of a support cell that provided supplies, money and recruits to overseas terrorist organizations.
Prior to creating AMER, AMANA was involved in fundraising for Islamic Relief, a "charity" that the Israeli government has called a front for Hamas. Furthermore, the group's logo has been seen in photographs taken inside the AMANA office.
With all of this in mind, one could easily ask how it was possible that AMER would be considered to receive funding from Homeland Security. It's a question that those in DHS most certainly did not contemplate, when they made their decision to provide AMER with a grant. But now, in a stunning decision, based primarily on information exposing AMER and its parent organization's terror ties, DHS has chosen to review the case.
In an official response from DHS, the following is read: "DHS through FEMA is currently reviewing the validity of several claims made in the grant application from which a determination was made to award DHS grant monies to AMANA. This review remains pending."
While it would be an amazing change in direction for DHS to rescind the award, tragic mistakes, such as the giving of grants to those that wish us harm, have not been a rare occurrence. In far too many instances, the U.S. government has played a dangerous game of ‘Good cop/Bad cop' with the enemy. However, the only winner in this game has been the enemy. Zakkout says that his organization deserves the DHS grant, because according to him, he "receives threats," but what about the threat that Zakkout's organization poses to us?
If, in the end, DHS decides to revoke the funding, it will have done the right thing. The hope is for this type of situation to never again be repeated.
MIM: Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout had named Adnan Shukrijumah's father Gulshair as a director of his Shamshuddin Islamic Center and helped fundraise for the Islamic Association of Palestine aka Hamas as the vice president of the now defunct terror "charity" Health Resource Center Palestine.
I saw (El Shukrijumah, Padilla and Mandhai) at different times in different mosques, and I always said hello. Does that make me a terrorist?"
24 Million Sent to At-Risk Nonprofits
By EILEEN SULLIVAN – 1 day ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than $24 million was sent out Friday to mostly Jewish nonprofit organizations in major cities nationwide because the federal government considers them to be at high risk of a terrorist attack.
The Homeland Security Department decided which nonprofits would receive these 308 grants based on threat and risk information. Organizations in Chicago and New York were the top recipients.
The funds are to be used to increase physical security and screening systems and to train personnel in terrorism awareness and preparedness. The grants went to medical centers, schools, temples and synagogues. One went to an Islamic organization in Miami.
That Jewish organizations received the bulk of the funding does not mean there is new or heightened threat against Jewish Americans, the department said.
"One faith group is not necessarily at greater risk than another," said department spokesman Russ Knocke. "Risk is often circumstantial and it is constantly evolving."
But it is no secret that Jewish communities are targets, whether they're in the United States or in Israel, said a former FBI agent who works in counterterrorism. He spoke only on condition of anonymity, because he is not authorized to speak publicly in his new post.
In July 2006, for example, a Muslim man shot six people, killing one, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. And in 2003, the FBI warned about possible attacks on more than 300 synagogues and other Jewish organizations in Michigan.
While most of the grants went to Jewish organizations, the department found other nonprofits, such as the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. and St. Michael's Medical Center in Newark, N.J., are at risk as well.
Harper-Hutzel Hospital, part of the Detroit Medical Center, received funding to upgrade its computer systems to increase video surveillance, said Jenny Atas, disaster coordinator for the hospital. Atas said the hospital has not received any specific terrorist threats, but the fact that Detroit has one of the largest Arabic populations in the country makes it vulnerable, she said.
The Miami-based American Muslims for Emergency and Relief also received a grant this year. Director Sofian Abdelaziz Zazakkout said Islamic centers across the country are vandalized, and his organization is also vulnerable.
"Myself, I receive threats — different people calling, and they say 'Go back to your country, I will kill you,'" he said.
The Homeland Security Department received 612 grant applications from organizations across the country. None of the organizations will receive more than $100,000.
"Risk is not exclusive to political jurisdictions or critical infrastructure," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement.
This is the second year the department issued grants to nonprofit organizations. The first year was in 2005.
Also Friday, the department awarded $113 million in grants for preparedness training for state, local and tribal governments.
The department hands out about $2 billion each year to states and local communities to help prepare them for terrorist attacks and other disasters.
By Aaron Shea
Since Dhafir's arrest, leaders at the Boca Raton mosque have denied any prior knowledge of Dhafir's alleged illegal activities. His appearance at the mosque's November fund-raiser, they say, was simply an unfortunate coincidence.
‘A question of character'
Just as he refuted knowing Dhafir, Dremali also denied to the Boca Raton News that he had any close ties to accused terrorist and Sunrise resident Adham Hassoun, who was arrested by a South Florida terrorism task force last June for his alleged ties to Jose Padilla. Padilla is a former Broward County resident accused of having ties to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network al-Qaeda and conspiring to explode a radiological device in the United States. Padilla is being detained by the federal government as an "enemy combatant" of the U.S.
Among those who say he is taking a hard look at the Boca Raton mosque and its leader is Steven Emerson, the nationally recognized terrorist expert, former CNN correspondent and founder of the Investigative Project, which was created to root out possible terrorist cells in the United States and came to prominence following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Critics of Dremali and the mosque have also focused on issues unrelated to anyone indicted for alleged terrorist ties.
‘We are not terrorists'
Today, Dremali said he can't understand those who claim he promotes anything other than peace and his Muslim faith at the mosque on Northwest 20th Street.
Staff Writer Brian Bandell contributed to this report.
MIM: On his website Dremali describes himself as an advisor to AMANA
Sheikh Ibrahim Abdelrahman Dremali was born to the late Sheikh Abdelrahman Dremali. He is the eldest of 4 brothers and 6 sisters, all of whom studied Qur'an and Fiqh under the wing of their father.
Sheikh Ibrahim graduated from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, with a Bachelor's degree in Geology, and a Masters degree and PhD in Sharia (Islamic Law) with a specialization in Fiqh (Jurisprudence). After coming to the United States in 1989 he continued his studies in Geology, earning a Masters degree in Geology from Florida Atlantic University and a PhD in Geology from Florida International Univerisity.
He served as the Principal of Dar ul-Uloom Institute in Pembroke Pines, Florida for 5 years and as the Imam of the Islamic Center of Belle Glade. In 1998 he co-founded the Islamic Center of Boca Raton in Florida, where he was the Imam for 7 years, and Garden of the Sahaba Academy in 2003 where he taught Qur'an and Karate. He has over 20 years experience as a Geologist and taught college level Geology and Oceanography courses for 7 years. He is currently the Imam of the Islamic Center of Des Moines and the Principal and Qur'an teacher of New Horizons Academy in Iowa. He holds a 3rd degree black belt and teaches Karate to the students at New Horizons Academy. He is also professor at the American Open University and a professor at Drake University. Sheikh Ibrahim is a member of the permanent Fatwa Committee for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA) and an advisor for the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA).
MIM.Another strategic blunder.The DHS's Daniel Sutherland spoke at the Saudi funded ADC conference in 2005
Remarks by Daniel W. Sutherland at American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's Silver Anniversary National Convention
Daniel W. Sutherland, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, made the following remarks during a speech before the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee during their Silver Anniversary National Convention on May 28, 2005.
"Thank you to Congresswoman Oakar, to Kareem and Nawar Shora and to the rest of the ADC national office. Thank you for providing me with this tremendous opportunity today. This is a tremendous opportunity for two reasons. First, because of the incredible people who are receiving awards today. It is an honor to serve alongside Alex Acosta. It is a privilege to work regularly with SALDEF, and to meet so many people from the Sikh community. It is a privilege to work with the ACLU and MALDEF. Laura, I wish you all the best and I look forward to crossing paths with you again in the future.
This is also a tremendous opportunity because of the occasion – the Silver Anniversary of this effective and important organization. My wife and I recently celebrated our fifteenth anniversary. Curiously, she did not invite me to give a speech on that occasion.
ADC has access to senior government leaders who are anxious to hear this organization's views on policy. Along with us, ADC has met with Secretary Chertoff, and with the leaders of the immigration, customs and border agencies within the Department of Homeland Security. ADC has worked with us on a number of difficult circumstances relating to aviation watch lists – leading to ADC's April 27 press release, "TSA Improves No Fly List Procedures." From the title of the press release, you can see that they worked with us and made a difference. They worked with us on the recent national preparedness exercise called "TOPOFF 3" – the largest exercise to test our preparedness efforts ever. ADC observed the TOPOFF 3 exercise, and provided us with valuable insights that we are now inserting into the "after action review" of that exercise. They have worked with us in training our law enforcement officers, even traveling to our academy in Georgia to give a seminar to the faculty. Throughout my remarks today, I will note other ways that ADC has worked with us over the past two years and has helped us to make significant progress in our work.
The topic I wish to address with you today is the need for the federal government to engage with Arab-American and Muslim-American communities, and other ethnic and religious communities in America. I will talk about why it is important that we develop close partnerships. I will point out that there is a good level of engagement now that will be made even deeper over the upcoming months and years. Indeed I will tell you why I believe that we will see levels of engagement between the government and Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans that have never been reached before in the history of this country. Finally, I will talk about some specific ways that I believe we can work to better engage with one another.
Before proceeding, let me give you some background.
While you are celebrating twenty-five years of work, the Office I have the privilege of leading has just celebrated its second anniversary. The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties provides proactive legal and policy advice to the senior leadership of the Department on a wide range of issues, seeking to help them to shape policy in ways that are mindful of our civil rights and civil liberties. DHS is a place of firsts in many respects. One such first is the establishment of a team of attorneys who specialize in civil liberties issues and report directly to the Secretary.
It is notable that an agency that has a largely law enforcement and military mission has a civil libertarian in the senior leadership.
And it is paying off. We have had the privilege of assisting our colleagues in many ways – such as in:
When I started in this position, I quickly realized that issues affecting Arab-American and Muslim-American communities had to be prominent in our work. Over the past two years, I have spoken with and learned from dozens of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, as well as friends from the Sikh community and other religious and ethnic communities, and traveled to cities across the country. I have met with officials at every level of government (local, state, national and even international), and read as much as I possible could. After this immersion experience, my chief conclusion is this:
The United States government must develop, cultivate and cement long-term and stable relationships with Arab-American and Muslim-American communities, as well as with other ethnic and religious communities in America.
There are, of course, many elements to our nation's counter-terrorism strategy. We must protect air travel. We must inspect cargo shipments. We must better control our borders. We must prepare our critical infrastructure. We must have access to intelligence about the threats our country faces.
These are the elements of the strategy that you always hear about. I want to suggest that another critical element of the strategy must be to better connect the federal government to the great communities you represent, to listen to your concerns and ideas for improvement, to ask for your help in educating us, to communicate with you about our policies and actions so that you can better understand us – in short, we need to build a level of communication, trust, and confidence that is unprecedented in our nation's history.
There have always been people and organizations that support greater involvement of various communities with the government. ADC has done this for over two decades. But, the recognition has been growing within government and among counter-terrorism experts that an important element of our nation's strategy must be to build bridges with the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities, and with the Arab and Muslim world. You can see this reflected in the 9/11 Commission's report – see pages 374-78.
You can see this in studies and books by counter-terrorism experts. Let me cite, as an example, a book titled Understanding Terror Networks, by Dr. Marc Sageman. Dr. Sageman's book, which is becoming quite influential, concludes by arguing that the government needs, "active support from American and other Muslim communities." He states, "U.S. government agencies urgently need to implement active measures to restore their previously good relationship with the Muslim community and elicit its support." He warns: "Strong-arm government tactics antagonizing Muslim communities in the United States will not earn their support[.]" Instead, "[This engagement will] require skill and cultural sensitivity."
In dozens of conversations I have had with senior government officials – intelligence analysts, prosecutors, military leaders, politicians, and, law enforcement officers – I have seen that key leaders are reaching this same conclusion. I believe that there are good levels of engagement now, and that it will be made even deeper over the upcoming months and years. Indeed, I believe that we have the hope of seeing levels of engagement between the government and Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans that have never been reached before in the history of this country. For example, within the last two months, ADC and other leading Arab-American, Muslim-American, Sikh-American and other groups have met with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General and the Director of the FBI.
Of course, the government must be careful to choose constructive people to partner with, and you must be careful to select government officials to talk to who you know will be reliable. We have really appreciated working with ADC, and many others, because you tell us when we need to do better and when we have done something right. You give us constructive criticism – you try to give us realistic options for improving our work.
Why is the level of engagement between the federal government and the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities increasing?
First, because it is the right thing to do. We have a common goal of protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of all of our people; this is a fundamental element of our government.
However, even if one had absolutely no concern whatsoever for the inherent moral values in the Bill of Rights and complimentary federal laws, we would still engage for a purely utilitarian reason: it will help us be successful to meet the challenges that face us.
When the Supreme Court was considering the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education in the early 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower encouraged the Supreme Court to strike down racial segregation. President Eisenhower understood that it would be difficult to win the war of ideas against the communist threat while a substantial portion of America did not enjoy equal rights. Likewise, as we live up to our highest ideals in these days, we demonstrate that the violent extremists are deeply and desperately wrong. Taking steps to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of religious and ethnic minorities has a strong strategic value in the war on terror.
John Quincy Adams once wrote, "Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation."
If we want to be a powerful nation, we must do many things -- and enforcing our civil rights laws is one of them.
For these reasons, government is increasingly recognizing that we need to establish good partnerships. On the basis of all of my travels, conversations and reading, it is clear to me that Arab-American and Muslim-American communities agree – that you want to work with the government to help us meet the challenges that face us in these critical days.
This idea is nothing new to you at all; I think that those of us in the government are just catching up to where you have always been. In 1926, Khalil Gibran wrote an article for the first edition of a magazine called "The Syrian World." In it, he wrote an essay to "young Americans of Syrian origin," and he stated: "I believe that you have inherited from your forefathers an ancient dream, a song, a prophecy, which you can proudly lay as a gift of gratitude upon the lap of America…I believe that it is in you to be good citizens. And what is it to be a good citizen?," Gibran asked. "It is to acknowledge the other person's rights before asserting your own, but always to be conscious of your own. It is to be free in thought and deed, but it is to know that your freedom is subject to the other person's freedom…It is to stand before the towers of New York, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco saying in your heart, ‘I am the descendant of a people that built Damascus, and Byblus, and Tyre and Sidon, and Antioch, and now I am here to build with you, and with a will.'"
The question now is this: How? How can the government better engage with Arab-American and Muslim-American communities?
First, we need to work together to ensure that our civil rights laws are fully enforced. Those of us who have practiced civil rights law as our profession have long recognized that there are certain issues that are the most important and persistent facing our profession, such as "affirmative action," and the rights of people with disabilities.
But it is important for us, as a country, to acknowledge that the issues facing Arab-American and Muslim-American communities are now among the most important in the civil rights field. The issues here are numerous, they are complex, and they are going to be with us for the foreseeable future. We need to place a top priority on ensuring that Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans are given full and equal opportunity in education, in employment, in housing, and in their interactions with government agencies, and in so many other areas of public life.
Along with the challenges, there is a great deal of good news to report in this area. The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has resolved a number of complaints that individuals and organizations have brought to us. For example, we reviewed allegations concerning a young Muslim man from an African country who came to the United States seeking asylum. As a result of our review, we recommended to border and transportation security officials that they consider strengthening asylum policies in several ways, including the health and medical services provided to detainees, the length of time in detention prior to a hearing in court, and the process for determining the age of asylum applicants. Border and transportation security officials have agreed with many of our recommendations, and we are working with them to make these changes in asylum policies.
As a result of several complaints that ADC has brought to us, we have worked with transportation security officials to improve the operation of aviation watch lists. For example, ADC brought us two complaints about young children who experienced difficulties in flying apparently because, as one airline told the family, these children appeared on a "security list." During the course of our investigation of these matters, we worked closely with transportation security officials. We concluded that in both cases the airlines had not properly followed our security directives with regard to these lists. Transportation security officials have since made improvements in the operation of the aviation watch lists that help to minimize the times that airlines make errors in misidentifications.
We are in the process of reviewing several complaints dealing with religious symbols that people of the Sikh religion often carry, and expect to develop new policies as a result of those complaints.
The key, of course, is to take steps to try to prevent civil rights problems from happening in the first place. We are trying to be as proactive as possible in helping the officials who lead our agencies. For example, we prepared a CD-ROM that gives our law enforcement officers a tutorial on President Bush's policy prohibiting unlawful racial profiling. The tutorial takes about 20-25 minutes, taking the officers through a series of hypothetical fact patterns; it does not allow them to move through the tutorial without thinking because there are test questions embedded in the presentation – wrong answer, it takes you back.
We have also engaged in a great deal of outreach to community leaders in cities like Los Angeles, Buffalo, Detroit and Washington. Together we have identified a number of issues and worked to address them before they mushroom.
Of course, our colleagues in other civil rights agencies in government are also doing great work in this area. My point is that we are making great progress in the effort to protect the civil rights of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. There is, of course, much more work to be done in this critical area.
The second area in which we need to engage with each other is in the area of employment. We need to seek ways to encourage people with specialized language skills and cultural competencies to seek employment with the federal government. Engagement is a key: if people in Arab-American and Muslim-American communities are convinced that, for example, the Department of Homeland Security understands their concerns and is actively engaging with them, it is likely that more people from these communities may seek employment with us. That means that we will have more people with critical language skills and, just as importantly, cultural competencies.
We need people with these skills to enter specific jobs that will help with the war on terror, from translators to intelligence analysts to airport screeners to law enforcement officers. But we also need people with these skills to work in human resources, as financial managers, as IT specialists, as attorneys – in other words, we need to make the federal government a welcoming environment for those with these experiences and skills. We are studying ways to increase our employment of people with specialized language skills and cultural competencies, and have reached out to ADC and a number of other organizations for their assistance. We would greatly appreciate any thoughts you have on how we could accomplish this worthy goal.
I want to mention that we will be working actively with the interns that ADC brings to Washington this summer; if we do a particularly good job, perhaps some of them will join us permanently some day.
A third area where we can better engage is in the area of training. Our workforce needs to better understand the cultures, values, customs and traditions of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, and other ethnic and religious communities in America. Dr. Margaret Nydell of Georgetown University has written a widely read book on Arab culture. She states, "Perceptions become realities to the people who hold them, and people who lack cross-cultural experience can easily misunderstand the attitudes and behaviors they confront." We must work hard to ensure that these misperceptions and misunderstandings are addressed.
This is another area in which I see a great deal of consensus. Organizations like ADC often raise the issue of training, but I have also had dozens of conversations with people inside government who have independently expressed a need for training in this area.
In fact, this need for training has spawned a problem: there are so many people who offer to do this kind of training that it is hard to ensure that the source is legitimate. We must make sure this kind of training is accurate and effective. In February, ADC brought to us a complaint about a course being taught at the academy of one of the DHS agencies. The course was to give an overview of Arab and Muslim culture. According to the complaint, the course contained inaccurate information and offensive stereotypes.
As a result of ADC's complaint, we opened an investigation, with the full cooperation of the leadership of the agency in question. We have thoroughly reviewed the documents involved in the course, and taken statements from a number of people who were students in the class. We concluded that the course was so poorly conceived that it often reinforced some of the worst stereotypes of Arab and Muslim culture and values. As a result of our investigation and recommendations, the officials from this agency have suspended the course. Moreover, they have asked us to work with them to develop new training in this area – training that is credible, accurate and relevant. The leaders of that agency have thanked us for exposing this situation, and we want to thank ADC for bringing it to us. When you help us to see problems at the earliest possible stage, it helps us to be the best possible agency we can be.
I want you to know that other parts of DHS, and the federal government, are training quite effectively. For example, the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection training office has put together an extremely effective and helpful training session on Arab and Muslim culture. I have recently traveled to our academy in Georgia to personally take the course, and was very impressed.
Another example is this: my office has sent a CD-ROM with basic information about Arab and Muslim culture to thousands of DHS employees. The CD-ROM, you should know, prominently features ADC's Nawar Shora, and was prepared by the Community Relations Service of the Justice Department.
Finally, we need to work together to establish solid lines of communication between law enforcement and the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities. It is critical that we talk with each other – when an inflammatory incident happens, if community leaders know to call a law enforcement official the incident can be addressed or explained quickly and the tensions eased. Moreover, if a community leader grows to know and trust a law enforcement official, he or she will feel comfortable to call that official if there is something of concern happening within the community. Most of all, these open lines of communication can help improve the government's work – if community leaders have constructive criticisms, they will have an open door to share those ideas and help us to improve.
We are working to increase the level of communication between DHS and the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities. We already have formal, regular communication meetings here in Washington, in Detroit and in Chicago. ADC is a leader in all of those. We also have had good dialogue with community leaders in Buffalo and Los Angeles. I know that our colleagues at Treasury and Justice are also meeting with community leaders and listening to their concerns.
In conclusion, I want to acknowledge that this will not be easy; it will be road with many peaks and valleys. There are all sorts of pressures that seek to pull us apart; we have to resist those.
We have to make sure that those who believe in cementing positive relationships are the voices who shape opinions, that these are the people who are influencing the debate. It will not be easy, but it must be done. We can draw inspiration from the words of Abraham Lincoln who said, "Still the question recurs 'can we do better?' The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall nobly save our country."
Homeland Security at ISNA Right Next to Hizb Ut-Tahrir
Wed, Sep 5, 2007
Here's a photo from the Islamic Society of North America convention, showing the booth of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic supremacist group openly dedicated to the establishment of shari'a over the entire world, with a poster advertising "The Shield."
And in the disgrace of the year, right next door to this most radical of radical front groups: the Department of Homeland Security, apparently trying to recruit employees. Notice how "The Shield" is conspicuously placed on the side of the booth facing the DHS exhibit.
MIM:The Department of Homeland Security representative Dan Sutherland also spoke at the ISNA convention.
Registration for Pre-ISNA 2007 is now open. We have managed to secure the same rates as last year for you, as well as at least 10 CME hours. You won't want to miss it! The meeting will take place on Thursday, August 30th and Friday, August 31st. It will follow the same format as last year. There will be a lunch on Thursday as well as a banquet dinner later that evening.
Mark Ward - Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID
Dan Sutherland - Officer for Civil Rights and Liberties, Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Dr. Ingrid Mattson - President, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Farhana Khera - President, National Association Muslim Lawyers (NAML)
Todd Shea - Comprehensive Disaster and Relief Services (CDRS)
All of your rooms will be in the Hyatt O'Hare for the $99 rate for the entire ISNA convention as well for your convenience. However, you must be registered for the CME program to qualify for these rooms; those who are not registered for CME are subject to room cancellation. Please fill out the registration form on the next page. The call for abstracts is also attached to this page. If you are planning on presenting, submit your abstract ASAP! The deadline for registration is July 31st, 2007 and the rooms are first come, first serve only to CME registrants. Our rooms filled up quickly last year, so please take advantage of this as early as possible!