FBI Uses TV to Reach American Muslims

The FBI is expected to hold today its first nationally televised "townhall meeting" that will be directed at Muslim and Arab Americans, FBI agents said, according to Reuters.

FBI Uses TV to Reach American Muslims

The agency claims that the program is aimed at improving relations with the Muslim and Arab communities in the U.S., as well as seeking their help in fighting terrorism.

The meeting will be aired on Thursday, April 13th at 10 am ET on Bridges TV, an independent Muslim-oriented U.S. television network that features lifestyle and culture programs for the Muslim American audience.

Paul Moskal, chief division counsel for the FBI in Buffalo, New York, who will lead the meeting and field questions, believes that the agency and the Arab and Muslim American communities must overcome misconceptions about each other and foster closer cooperation.

"What we want to do is let the public know that the FBI has changed its mission after Sept. 11, that our number one priority is the detection and prevention of another terrorist act. If someone in the public can help us accomplish that, that's our purpose," Moskal said.

According to Moskal, the televised meeting is also aimed at encouraging Muslim and Arab Americans to report incidences of post-Sept. 11 backlash, intimidation, racism or harassment so the agency can protect their civil rights.

Another reason for the townhall meeting was that "we need more Arab Americans, we need more Muslim Americans as FBI agents and as FBI employees. So we use it to recruit as well," he said.

Moskal also noted the FBI had held several local townhall meetings, at which agents contacted citizens and answered questions about their work, in a broad range of ethnic, religious and other communities throughout the United States.

But he said Thursday's meeting was the first nationally televised event targeting Muslim and Arab Americans.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations which is moderating the TV program, said, "It's important to keep the lines of communication open, for the FBI to understand the Muslim community better and for American Muslims to better understand law enforcement agencies."

Muslim Americans have long accused the Bush Administration of ignoring them in its fight against terrorism. They say the U.S. government must engage their community to ensure that Muslims do not feel alienated.

Estimates of the number of Muslim Americans vary between three million and seven million.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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