Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez and U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner today visited the Islamic Center of Davis to discuss civil rights and other issues of concern to the Muslim American community. Perez and Wagner addressed the congregation and answered questions during their visit, which is part of the Justice Department’s outreach initiative to enhance engagement with Muslim and Arab-American communities around the country. Perez recently met with Muslim leaders in Detroit, Nashville and Roanoke.
During the visit, Perez remarked;
“The Department is committed to responding forcefully to recent incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes. I look forward to a constructive dialogue with the Arab-American and Muslim communities on how best to confront these issues.”
“Muslim Americans, like all Americans, deserve the full protection of federal law, including civil rights laws. By hearing directly from members of the community about their concerns, we can be more effective in safeguarding their rights and protecting them from crime. I look forward to expanding my office’s engagement with the Muslim communities of this region.”
Othman Alsaoud, president of the Islamic Center of Davis said of the visit:
“It was an honor to be visited today by our esteemed guests Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez and US Attorney Benjamin Wagner. We all benefit from learning from each other and look forward to a good relationship in the future. The Muslim community appreciates the outreach program of the US Attorney’s office; today’s visit by Mr. Perez and Mr. Wagner is yet another step toward building bridges of friendship and cooperation between Muslim Americans and US law enforcement.”
Guided by the goal of protecting our common security and our common values – a respect for civil liberties, an embrace of diversity and a commitment to religious freedom — Attorney General Eric Holder last year established an Arab and Muslim-American Engagement Advisory Group. This group coordinates and reviews policy initiatives that affect the community as well as the enhanced outreach efforts by various department components, including the Civil Rights Division, several U.S. Attorney’s Offices and FBI representatives.
The Department has been active in engaging with various communities, including the Muslim and Arab-American communities, to promote community law enforcement collaboration and to ensure the protection of civil rights and religious freedoms. The Attorney General has also met with Arab and Muslim-American community leaders in Washington, D.C. and across the country to discuss the federal government’s relationship with the Arab and Muslim-American community and to improve the department’s communication and collaboration with members of the community.
Here are some examples of the Division’s enforcement actions that combat discrimination against the Arab and Muslim-American communities: