News / USA

    Los Angeles Deputies Work with Muslim Community

    Morsi (l) is a Muslim and a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles
    Morsi (l) is a Muslim and a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles

    At a time when some Americans fear the radicalization of Muslims in the United States, and others, a growing anti-Muslim sentiment, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says it has the solution to fighting home grown terrorism and creating peace among Muslim and non-Muslims.

    In a city with one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States, seeing a Muslim in uniform is still rare.


    But Sherif Morsi is a Muslim and a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles. "Culturally, as kids are young, they're asked by their parents, 'Are you going to  to be a doctor, engineer, lawyer or businessman. Law enforcement is not really on their list for various reasons," he said.

    Jihad Turk of the Islamic Center of Southern California says Muslim immigrants in the U.S. often have a negative perception about law enforcement. "A lot of people who are Muslims in the United States come from other countries that are often times run by dictators and the police is just an extension of an oppressive regime," Turk said.

    Deputy Morsi has worked for nearly four years to change that belief through the L.A. Sheriff's Department's Muslim Community Affairs Unit. The unit is the first of its kind in the country and aims to build trust through education and personal relationships.  

    "Certain Islamic centers, when we first go in uniform. people would avoid me like the plague. They would look at me from far away, try to avoid eye contact.  They  know I'm a Muslim. But still, I have a uniform on," Morsi said. "To them that was a sign of authority, a sign of mistrust, a sign of corruption and again from their experiences. The same center I go now, I'm met with hugs and kisses and lunches. It's been phenomenal."

    Morsi says the Muslim community has not only provided tips on neighborhood crime, but also about potential extremists.

    Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca started the Muslim Community Affairs Unit.  He says the idea of public trust policing works at all levels of law enforcement.

    "In the last 10 attacks that were solved by agencies in the federal government, FBI, seven of those last 10 involve Muslims being part of the information flow that brought forth and reveal those particular plots," Baca said.

    Deputy Morsi says there is one major factor to radicalization. "I think the biggest thing is alienation, always feeling alienated and always considered as a suspect. I think that's one of the major facts that plays in a radical's mind," Morsi said.

    Jihad Turk says anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. helps to create a breeding ground for extremism. "If the Muslim community is perceived to be targeted, the youth from that community then is ostracized by the rest of society, might turn to extreme violence as a way to push back against that," Turk said.

    Turk says the Muslim community needs to integrate itself into society and the public needs to know that extremists in the U.S. are not limited to self-proclaimed Muslims.

    To help fight Islamic radicalization and anti-Muslim sentiment, law enforcement agencies across the country are using the Muslim Community Affairs Unit's training video.  The hope is that more understanding of the Muslim culture will lead to respect and trust from both sides so police and Muslims can be partners in fighting crime.

    You May Like

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    Numerous national election surveys show former secretary of state defeating presumptive Republican nominee with tough talk to halt illegal immigration and temporarily block Muslims from entering country

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora