"Engagement" aka Stealth Jihad "Is Working" : MPAC's Al- Marayati Attends Meeting With DHS Security Secretary At Mosque
November 18, 2014
Engagement is Working, MPAC Attends DHS Meeting
Nov 16 2014
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visits Islamic Center in Rowland Heights
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited the Islamic Center of San Gabriel on Thursday to discuss civil rights and liberties with area Muslims.
Johnson met with more than 60 community leaders in Rowland Heights to talk about issues facing the Muslim community in Southern California.
"We want to build partnerships, to build trust with community organizations such as those represented here at this Islamic center today," Johnson said. "We're here to hear about a broad range of issues, to hear some of the issues and grievances that people in the Islamic community have."
He noted it was a continuation of the effort by the Department of Homeland Security to reach out to Muslims. He mentioned other meetings in Chicago, Columbus and Minneapolis.
"ISIL is neither Islamic nor a state, the principle victims of the terrorist organization ISIL are Muslims. So we're here to highlight that and talk about it," Johnson said.
The Homeland Security said his department needed something from Muslims.
"This is as much your homeland, your country, your public safety as anyone elses. So the slogan ‘If you see something, say something' is one I bring to this community," Johnson explained. "We're asking for public participation."
He said he was there to encourage people to be on the lookout for potential acts of violence as well as those troubled individuals who may turn to violence. To try and steer these individuals in a different direction, but if that wasn't possible to contact local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
"I don't regard that as being an informant or a snitch. I think that's part of participation in a democracy," Johnson said.
Johnson said Islamic community organizations were in a position to partner with state and local law enforcement in a united effort with Homeland Security.
"We had a good discussion with a lot of people in the room ... people are anxious to talk and we had a good back-and-forth," he said.
Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said they discussed three basic issues. First was to develop ways to address grievances from the Muslim community "so American Muslims feel that this is our home like every other American."
Al-Marayati said they also discussed the need to counter the ISIS ideology "in preventing any kind of foothold for both ISIS and Al-Qaeda in America."
"The fact that the secretary is here is a step in the right direction toward that," the council president said.
"The third issue is the recognition that the federal government is moving away from treating Muslims as suspects in our society toward treating American Muslims as partners," Al-Marayati said. "That is a very positive step forward."
He noted that only a decade ago Muslims were the subject of sting operations and profiling.
"At least, Secretary Johnson is saying those days are behind us. We're working toward engaging our community," the council spokesman said. "He did say that Los Angeles is highlighted as one of the model civic cities for the federal government."
Al-Marayati said the Attorney General acknowledged that Los Angeles had a solution to radicalization, the partnership model the local communities are building.
"The partnership includes basically that when there is a threat that law enforcement is coming to the community to talk about the threat and see if we can get information from it," he said.
When there are grievances about civil rights and liberties, "there's a confidence level among our organizations that redress is going to be resolved."
Jihad Turk, president of Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School, said that people who are vulnerable to radicalization are Muslim Americans who feel marginalized in our society.
"They have difficulty reconciling their American identity with their Muslim identity and in part that's caused by a fever or sense of Islamaphobia in this country," Turk said.
He said Homeland Security was reassuring them that part of its strategy was to counter this anti-Islamic rhetoric that puts the Islamic world on a crash course with the United States.