Muslim American Homeland Security Congress Holds Successful Conference
By MAHSC Reporter
The Muslim American Homeland Security Congress (MAHSC), along with Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit, recently held a one-of-a kind training conference for Southern California law enforcement agencies. By all measures the daylong conference titled “The Muslim Community and Law Enforcement” was a success. The event was hosted at the IMAN Center in Los Angeles.
Dr. Sadegh Namazikhah welcomed the guests on behalf of the IMAN Center and Dr. Dafer Dakhil, Chairman of MAHSC, outlined the vision and the purpose of the conference. The Training Conference Co-Chair and Master of Ceremony was Mr Ahmed Ali.
The conference was attended by more than 100 law enforcement personnel. Participating agencies included the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Long Beach Police Department, Redondo Beach Police Department, Glendale Police Department, Department of Homeland Security, the National Counterterrorism Center and others.
A message from Janet Napolitano, Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, was also shared at the conference. Sheriff Lee Baca was the keynote speaker and he congratulated MAHSC on holding the first ever conference of its kind. Sheriff Baca said conferences like this one should be held nationwide.
The conference had four sessions:
1. Dispelling Myths about Islam and Muslims moderated by Saadia Khan. The panel was comprised of Dr. Amir Boozari, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, and Imam Abdel Karim Hasan.
2. Community Outreach and Engagement moderated by Adel Syed. Salam Al-Marayati and Hussam Ayloush were on the panel.
3. Countering Violent Extremism moderated by Ashraf Jakvani with Sergeant Mike Abdeen, Officer Omar Ricci, Bruce Riordan, Haroon Azar, and Ameena Qazi on the panel.
4. Q & A Session was chaired by Saadia Khan. Participating in this final dialogue were Dr. Maher Hathout, Dr. Dafer Dakhil, and Ameena Qazi.
This ongoing critical dialogue and partnership between Southern California law enforcement agencies and our state’s Muslim community sets an example for the rest of the nation to emulate. Like all Americans, Muslims are partners in making our communities safe and vibrant. Conferences such as this one reinforce the need for qualified trainers who can properly educate law enforcement about Islam and Muslims, and help prevent unwarranted suspicion of a segment of our country based solely on religion. It also reinforces the need for the Muslim Community to engage and understand the needs of Law Enforcement. The conference highlighted the fact that both Law Enforcement and the Muslim Community have the same goal - to keep our nation safe and secure at all times. We need to work as partners for this common goal.
MAHSC was founded in 2006 by Los Angeles Area Muslim leaders to build an effective partnership between the LA county Sheriff’s Department and American Muslims to help strengthen our nation’s security. The group’s activities include conducting community town hall meetings, training and seminars, presentations at Islamic schools, and tours of sheriff’s facilities.
The following organizations are members of MAHSC: Bilal Islamic Center, Council of Pakistan-American Affairs (COPAA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Greater Los Angeles Area, Iranian American Muslim Association of North America, Islamic Center of Hawthorne, Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley, Islamic Center of South Bay, Islamic Center of Southern California, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Muslim American Society, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation.
MAHSC thanks the panelists, moderators, our host the IMAN Center and event coordinators and would like to acknowledge Young Muslim American Leaders Advisory Council volunteers for their services for the conference. A special thanks to Dr. Namazikhah, Arif Merchant, Ahmed Ali and Sherif Morsey for making this event memorable and successful.