Robert S. Mueller met yesterday with key U.S. leaders
of national Arab, Muslim, and Sikh organizations.
The meeting, requested by the FBI Director, sought
to build on earlier discussions of a number of issues
-- ranging from vigilante attacks and other hate crimes
to the value of the continuing assistance from the
Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities in the overall
effort to provide greater security for all Americans.
said that a "better understanding and a productive
exchange of ideas" came from the meeting, as
well as a commitment to a continuing dialogue on those
issues and others of concern to the affected groups.
the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the FBI, working
closely with Justice Department and state and local
law enforcement, moved to prepare for an expected
backlash against Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Americans,
as well as recent immigrants here," Mueller said.
"We brought to bear the full strength of federal
and state laws to prevent hate crimes and when they
did occur, prosecute quickly and aggressively."
the FBI has initiated 318 hate crime investigations
involving Arab, Muslim, and Sikh American victims,
with eight persons being charged federally thus far.
Additionally, some 70 persons have been charged with
state and local crimes in connection with those investigations.
Mueller urged the community leaders to continue to
report any hate crime or threat. He reiterated the
FBI's commitment to aggressively investigate all credible
violations of federal civil rights laws that fall
under FBI jurisdiction. The leaders also emphasized
the importance of public awareness of the investigations
to better ensure the confidence of the Arab, Muslim,
and Sikh communities in law enforcement.
concern expressed by the leaders was the importance
of cultural sensitivity by law enforcement when interviewing
or otherwise dealing with members of the Arab and
Muslim communities. Mueller said that, while cultural
sensitivity has been part of FBI's continuing education
program, such training is being expanded to all Special
Agents in response to broader post-9/11 FBI investigative
jurisdiction in these communities. For example, a
prominent Arab-American community leader recently
spoke to FBI Civil Rights program supervisors at the
FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
leaders and the FBI Director agreed that an FBI initiative
to ensure regular contact between FBI field leaders
and local leaders of the Arab and Muslim communities
has been helpful and should continue. Since 9/11,
there have been more than 500 meetings with more than
600 organizations and mosques across the country,
as well as a continuing dialogue between FBI Headquarters
civil rights program managers and the national Arab,
Muslim, and Sikh leadership. These programs have contributed
to a better understanding of law enforcement's counterterrorism
mission by the communities, resulting in greater cooperation
and support of law enforcement efforts to better ensure
security for all Americans.
discussed at the meeting included the perception of
racial profiling in international terrorism investigations
and the status of alien detainees who remain in federal
the meeting was Dr. James Zogby, president of the
Arab Amercan Institute; George Salem, AAI Chairman;
Dr. Ziad Asili, president, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination
Committee; Manjit Singh, Executive Director of the
Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force, a Sikh advocacy
group; Abdulwahab Alkebi, Executive Director, Islamic
Institute; Dhjaled Saffuri, President, Islamic Institute;
Nihad Awad, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR); Mr. Jason Erb, Director of Government
Affairs for CAIR; Dr. Nedzi Sacirbey, acting director,
American Muslim Council; and Dr. Hassan Ibrahim, national
director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.