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DHS Incident Management Team Discusses UK Terror Incidents

Washington, DC | July 2, 2007 | www.adc.org | Yesterday, July 1, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) joined Muslim, Sikh and South Asian American organizations in a conference call with US Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), State, Justice, Treasury, and Health and Human Services officials to discuss unclassified information and respond to concerns following the terrorist incidents in London and Glasgow in the previous 48 hours.
Daniel Sutherland, Director of the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the US Department of Homeland Security, convened a call of the DHS Incident Management Team with the American Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian American communities. Briefings were provided by an operations official of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and by Dr. Akbar Ahmed of the American University, who is in the UK meeting with members of Parliament and leaders of the British Muslim community.
During the conference call, government officials pledged to continue their work to protect all communities and uphold civil rights and civil liberties. Federal officials pledged to continue to be active in prosecuting hate crimes, acts of employment discrimination, and upholding the free exercise of religion by all communities.
Community and government leaders discussed in-depth actions the communities and the Federal government can take together. ADC and the other organizations representing these communities have been actively tackling these issues since 9/11 and are active members of the DHS Incident Management Team. The community organizations re-stated that they are serious about developing best practices that will combat extremism and radicalization while protecting civil rights and civil liberties. Specific steps that were discussed included:
• At least two significant conferences with youth from these communities will be held in Washington, D.C. this summer. These conferences will enable senior government officials and community leaders understand the thoughts and hopes of young people from these communities. In turn, they will also help young people from these communities better engage with their government;
• Major national conferences hosted by Muslim American organizations will include a focus on developing tools to connect communities to federal, state and local government, with the goal of ensuring that America‘s religious, ethnic and racial minority communities are engaged with and not isolated from their governments;
• Both government and community leaders reiterated their commitment to a robust discussion of policy at community roundtables across the country; and,
• ADC and other community leaders re-stated strongly their willingness to improve upon their work with communities in the UK and across Europe to identify best practices for decreasing isolation and extremism; government leaders pledged to identify ways to support these efforts.
ADC acknowledges the DHS‘ efforts in spearheading the Incident Management Team and discussing these details over the weekend. ADC emphasizes the need for continued dialog and cooperation with law enforcement and other government agencies in order to combat negative misconceptions and the stereotyping of entire communities based on the actions of a few individuals.
The federal officials assured ADC and the other organizations that there is no evidence suggesting the terrorist incidents in the UK have any relation to the United States. The officials also stated that these incidents are not and should not be reflective of any specific religion or communities and should not be taken as such by members of the media or the general population.
Further, ADC reminds members of the media to be mindful of using terminology that would associate these terrorist incidents with any specific religion as a whole or any particular ethnic or racial communities. Rather, as the officials clearly indicated, these are the deplorable actions of extremist individuals.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS ADVISORY
Due to the recent developments in the UK, ADC is releasing the following advisory statement to members of the Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh American communities. ADC feels it prudent to issue this advisory statement due to the potential of a backlash against these communities and given the historically documented acts of hate-motivated violence including vandalism against these communities.
ADC would like to emphasize that it is issuing this advisory based on experiences in the community in recent years, and purely as a precautionary measure. ADC presents these suggestions for the consideration of the Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh American communities, to be evaluated by each family and individual according to their own best judgment and in the context of their own situation and relationship with their local community. ADC urges everyone to exercise common sense and rely on their own best judgment, but offers the following as suggestions should the need arise:
1) IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS PLACED IN PHYSICAL DANGER BECAUSE OF YOUR ETHNICITY, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN:
Call the police (dial 911 in most communities).
Contact the local FBI office, It is the FBI‘s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. a list of FBI field offices is included on our website, please see: https://www.adc.org/fbi_field_office.htm.
If the threat is imminent, go to a safe location such as a police station or church.
If you feel threatened in your home or community, move to a friend‘s house, or a hotel for as long as necessary.
Contact ADC to file a complaint by emailing the ADC Legal Department at legal@adc.org or by calling (202) 244-2990.
2) IF YOUR PLACE OF WORK, PLACE OF WORSHIP, OR SCHOOL IS IDENTIFIED OR CAN BE MISIDENTIFIED WITH ARABS AND/OR MUSLIMS:
Make sure the location has an open line of communication with law enforcement.
Make sure you know all the exits to your building.
Make sure the location has a current emergency plan that is defined and can be implemented should the need arise.
3) IF YOUR CHILD CAN BE IDENTIFIED AS ARAB OR MUSLIM, OR MAY BE CONFUSED FOR BEING OF MIDDLE-EASTERN ORIGIN:
Make sure you discuss the events with your children and that they feel comfortable speaking with an adult if they face harassment by others.
Make sure your children know what steps to take to avoid confrontation with other students.
Work with your children‘s school to implement an anti-discriminatory policy.
Click on the following link for a list of the FBI Field Offices across the country: https://www.adc.org/fbi_field_office.htm.
ADC would like to emphasize that it is issuing this advisory based on experiences in the community in recent years, and purely as a precautionary measure. ADC presents these suggestions for the consideration of the Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh American communities, to be evaluated by each family and individual according to their own best judgment and in the context of their own situation and relationship with their local community.