Federal Outreach to Valley Muslim Community - 8 News NOW

Edward Lawrence, Reporter

Federal Outreach to Valley Muslim Community

Posted: Updated:
Fateen Seifullah, Masjid as-Sabur Mosque Fateen Seifullah, Masjid as-Sabur Mosque

(Jul. 7) -- The federal government wants to build bridges between the Muslim community and federal authorities. That's why agents from a number of law enforcement organizations have reached out to Muslims in Las Vegas through meetings at local mosques.

The meetings started about a month ago at mosque in downtown Las Vegas. Eyewitness News has learned this is part of a nationwide effort from the Department of Justice, FBI, and Homeland Security. The hope is to open a dialogue that could prevent terrorism

Fateen Seifullah is the Imam or spiritual leader of the Masjid as-Sabur Mosque. He received the call from federal authorities asking to meet his followers. "The community is open and receptive, but still reserved in terms of trust," Seifullah said.

Mujahid Ramadan added, "Is there some suspicion? Yes. Is there some distrust? Yes. Is there some trust? Yes." Mujahid Ramadan says federal agents must do more than just meet. He would like to see some sort of gesture that says agents are serious about working with the community.

Ramadan would like to see a relationship beyond questions and answers established. He equates the process to leaving your air conditioning on at a certain temperature, not just turning it on and off. "So what do we plan for long-term, not just a knee jerk reaction that we will engage in this for three months and disengage," Ramadan said.

Fateen Seifullah continued, "I would even caution Muslims from doing more than any citizen would do." Seifullah says he still doesn't know the true motives of the federal agents who make the visits. But, he adds that the meetings are a good first step. "We will continue to meet. We will continue to be as supportive as citizens should be. But we won't allow our rights to be trampled over."

Seifullah wants to be able to trust federal authorities. He says he's sure that can happen. It may take some time and work through the meetings. He says out of the world's 1 billion Muslims, a fraction of 1-percent is terrorists. He says you cannot condemn the entire religion for the fanatics among them.

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