MPAC President Speaks at Homeland Security Conference

June 11, 2013

Last week on behalf of the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress (MAHSC), MPAC President, Salam Al-Marayati spoke about “Public-Private Partnerships” at the 2013 National Homeland Security Conference alongside Haroon Azar, Department of Homeland Security Regional Director for Strategic Engagement, and representatives from the L.A. Fire Department and the J. Paul Getty security team.

The Conference is an annual meeting of homeland security and emergency management experts from around the country. This year’s conference was coordinated by the Los Angeles/Long Beach  Urban Areas Security Initiative in partnership with the National Homeland Security Association. The theme was “Homeland Security Begins With Hometown Security.”

Al-Marayati first showed an informational video produced by MAHSC, which illustrated the partnership between L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca and the Muslim community and how the two are working to promote education and partnership.

Al-Marayati then spoke about “The Five I-s” -- what it takes to create effective partnerships between communities and law enforcement agencies. This model of partnership is based on a clear division of labor.

The Role of the Community:

  1. Infusing Hope: Every extremist is in a state of despair, but not every troubled person lacking hope is an extremist. We have to infuse hope to alleviate anxieties, especially of our young people. If they turn to drugs or alcohol or fall prey to online extremism, we have to be there to offer hope and guide them in another direction.
  2. Intervention: Signs of a troubled youth should be handled by the community leadership, either religious counselors or psychologists or peer groups. Shunning troubled people only displaces the problem, as was learned in the cases of both Adam Ghadan, who was kicked out of a mosque in Orange County and later became a spokesperson for al-Qaeda, and Tamerlan Tsanorev, who was kicked out of a Boston mosque. While that response is understandable, we have now have to consider another approach.
  3. Ideology: We are in the midst of an ideological battle with extremism. Violent extremists represent a cult of death, whereas mainstream Muslims offer a theology of life. Violent extremists prey on young people to die, citing that justice is unachievable in this life. However, we offer hope that justice can be achieved through nonviolent means.

The Role of  Law Enforcement:

  1. Investigation: When we hear of something about to happen that has a criminal and violent nature, we report it to the authorities for investigation.
  2. Information Sharing: If there are threats spreading from one part of the country, law enforcement can brief us on those threats, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator.



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