CAIR-LA Holds Press
Conference to Commemorate
Ayloush addresses the press conference
Los Angeles, CA: On Thursday,
September 7 the Southern California office of the Council
on American-Islamic Relations held a press conference to
commemorate the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks and
to offer messages of hope, peace and unity.
The press conference included members of various law enforcement
agencies and inter-faith leaders who stood in solidarity
with the Muslim, Arab, and Sikh Americans, and spoke out
against targeting any one group. Community leaders also
voiced support for building bridges of understanding, fostering
cooperation and harmony among Americans.
"American Muslims today are more committed than ever
in playing their role in bringing all Americans together,"
said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA. "The
attacks on Sept. 11 were an attack on all of us, regardless
of our ethnicity, religion or background...We owe it to
the victims of 9/11, their families and our country, to
promote the American values of peace, unity and tolerance."
Father Chris Ponnet, with the Catholic Archdiocese of Los
Angeles, denounced meeting violence with violence. He called
upon "preachers of all the traditions of faith as they
enter their pulpit this weekend to not use this moment to
speak of hatred and division but to speak of the profoundness
of our traditions of faith..."
A Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Department representative spoke of the
creation of the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress
to reach out to all to help understand American Muslims
and Arabs and help prevent terrorism. "It takes all
people that live in our communities to be aware and share
information, so we can respond and prevent acts of occurrence,"
said Commander Michael Grossman with Sheriff's Department's
Office of Homeland Security.
Special Agent In-charge Warren Bamford with the Federal
Bureau of Investigation said, "Dialogue is the key
to our success to protect this nation" and discussed
the Multicultural Advisory Committee the FBI set up in partnership
with Muslim, Arab and Sikh organizations to foster better
understanding and relations with those communities.
Rabbi Haim Beliak, a member of the Interfaith Communities
United for Peace and Justice, talked about commonalities
between Jews and Muslims, his involvement with inter-religious
dialogue, and misuse of offensive words such as "Islamofascist"
in attempts to name the enemy.
"I look forward to a different future for us in Los
Angeles, and in this country, where Muslims, Jews, Christians
and Sikhs and people of all faiths will discover their commonality,"
Other speakers at the press conference were: Jim McDonnell,
chief of staff for the Los Angeles Police Department and
Chief William Bratton; Edina Lekovic, communications director
of Muslim Public Affairs Council; and Sarbjit Singh, teacher
and former general secretary of Los Angeles Sikh Temple.
The press conference was covered by various television,
radio, print and ethnic media outlets.