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Arab-American Leader Not Happy, But ‘Optimistic’ After Meeting With FBI On Anti-Muslim Training

posted on: Oct 25, 2011

An Arab-American leader who met with law enforcement officials earlier this month is optimistic that the FBI is taking the problem of anti-Muslim training materials seriously.

Abed Ayoub of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee attended a meeting that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division hosted with other law enforcement officials on Oct. 14. The meeting was mentioned in a letter the Justice Department sent to Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, who were concerned about federal funds flowing to local and state anti-Muslim terrorism training. Ayoub said that anti-Muslim training materials used by law enforcement were a major topic of discussion.

“I can’t speak officially for the FBI, but what I can say is that I think they do understand the significance of what happend, they do understand the importance of getting this resolved and the impact on many members of the community,” Ayoub told TPM. “They do understand that this needs to be resolved. I do have a sense that they understand the importance of this matter.”

Ayoub said that the community’s relationship with the FBI over the past decade or so has “been very up and down” and that there are “always been issues that we don’t agree with, but there is that line of communication, there is that dialogue.”

At a meeting, which Ayoub estimated about 30 people attended, they discussed some of the first steps that the FBI had taken.

“They are taking concrete steps in a number of ways, first and foremost a complete review of the training process itself, most importantly they are listening to the community,” Ayoub said.

“I don’t know if happy is the word I’d use because this did happen, I think you could say I’m optimistic about their response,” Ayoub said.

Ryan J. Reilly