Thursday, March 10, 2011

Police in Los Angeles Step Up Efforts to Gain Muslims’ Trust


The question of whether American Muslims do, or do not, cooperate with law enforcement agents in preventing potential terrorist attacks is at the heart of Congressional hearings that begin Thursday in Washington. The hearings have been called by Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island, N.Y., and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He says that American Muslims do not cooperate, and that he will call witnesses who will prove it.

But in Los Angeles, home to one of the largest and most diverse Muslim populations in the country, the picture is far more encouraging, though there are still challenges. And it has one of the most assertive multidepartmental efforts in the country, along with New York, to overcome mistrust and engage Muslims as allies in preventing terrorism, according to law enforcement experts.

"We're not going to win the war against terrorism without Muslims," said Leroy D. Baca, the Los Angeles County sheriff, in an interview in his office. Mr. Baca will be called as a witness at the hearings on Thursday. [...]

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