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
Elizabeth Lee

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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More