This past week, many faith-based leaders briefed the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council at a meeting with the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Deputy Secretary John Tien, on building trust with our communities.
As Chair of the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council, Building Trust and Partnerships Subcommittee, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati was honored to serve with an impressive group of leaders from the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh faiths as well as law enforcement. Our subcommittee’s primary goal was to evaluate the current effectiveness of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programs for faith-based communities. We identified how the DHS can improve its relationship with marginalized faith groups and provide redress for victimized individuals and communities.
Historically, the DHS has had a tumultuous relationship with religious and racial minorities. That is why it is crucial to rebuild trust and reshape how DHS and government officials engage with marginalized communities if we as a nation want to move forward on building partnerships.
Key recommendations we provided included the following:
For a complete list of our key findings and recommendations, see report.
While speaking to the Council on religious minority and immigrant communities’ lack of trust in law enforcement, Salam noted the consequent underreporting of hate crimes. Additionally, he raised concerns regarding confusion within faith-based communities on who their Protective Security Advisors (PSAs) are. He appealed to the Council to raise the profile of PSAs to help support underserved communities so members can better prepare for their grant applications to fund their security needs.
On behalf of his Subcommittee to the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council, he appealed for the need to build trust and partnerships and form a two-way system of communication to increase dialogue and interdependency. Salam is pleased to announce that the report was unanimously accepted by the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council and transmitted to the Secretary, and the Department is considering a plan to move on implementation. The application of this plan will aid DHS in successfully protecting faith-based communities, helping them thrive and contribute to a robust democracy where they can be seen for who they are and feel safe.