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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Officials, cops reach out to U.S. Muslims

Speaking at a private meeting of Arab-American and Muslim leaders in Dearborn, the only U.S. Attorney of Arab descent told the group Wednesday that the U.S. government should be smarter in how it combats terrorism.

The U.S. Attorney for Colorado, Troy Eid, joined other federal officials and metro Detroit police chiefs at the meeting to discuss concerns about civil rights in the war on terrorism. Eid was invited to participate in the talk, part of an ongoing series of private discussions between Arab Americans and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Eid left on a flight after the meeting and could not immediately be reached for comment.

"It was refreshing and inspiring to hear his story," said Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who cochaired the meeting. "He spoke about the challenges that are facing the Arab-American and Muslim communities across the nation. ...He said the government should be smarter in how it gets at potential terrorists."

Hamad led the meeting, along with Daniel Sutherland, officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Wednesday's meeting was the latest in Michigan between the department and Arab Americans. Last week, the head of the department, Secretary Michael Chertoff, met with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders at a Shi'ite mosque in Dearborn, the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center.

Flanked by the center's leader and the head of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, Chertoff spoke about the importance of reaching out to American Muslims and not bashing them. [Link]

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