ADC LEOP Continues to Lead Fight Against Ignorance and Intolerance
Washington, DC | April 8, 2009 | http://www.adc.org | A recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll suggests that the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Research Institute’s (ADC-RI) Diversity Education and Law Enforcement Outreach Program (LEOP) has never been more necessary. As President Barack Obama delivers messages of cooperation to the Arab and Muslim worlds, there is still great misunderstanding about Arab and Muslim-Americans here at home as the recent poll suggests.
ADC’s LEOP was established in late 2001 to educate law enforcement officers and agencies in the United States about the Arab-American and Muslim communities in the wake of the post-9/11 backlash. Since the program started, it has received a number of awards from federal law enforcement, state and local police, and interfaith and community groups. In addition, the program has expanded to educate over 20,000 individuals across several industries and institutions, including airlines, academic institutions and private sector.
A poll released yesterday by the Washington Post and ABC News indicates that ADC’s LEOP is as relevant and necessary today as it has ever been. An article in the Post referencing the poll described the results, “There is still a broad lack of familiarity with the world’s second-largest religion—55 percent of those polled said they are without a basic understanding of the teachings and beliefs of Islam, and most said they do not know anyone who is Muslim….About half, 48 percent, said they have an unfavorable view of Islam, the highest in polls since late 2001. Nearly three in 10, or 29 percent, said they see mainstream Islam as advocating violence against non-Muslims; although more, 58 percent said it is a peaceful religion.”
The program, founded and directed by ADC Legal Director Nawar Shora, has helped produce training DVDs for Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security employees and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
Reacting to the poll, ADC Legal Director Nawar Shora said, “This is unfortunately not a surprise; people fear what they do not understand, and most people, as this poll confirms, do not have a fair understanding of the Muslim faith or the Arab culture. We have an uphill challenge, but we need to continue to work with good partners across the board to help demystify our community, explain misconceptions, and establish genuine trust.”
Shora is also author of a recently published book on the subject, “The Arab-American Handbook” (Cune Press 2009), an introductory guide to the Arab, Arab-American and Muslim Worlds -http://www.ArabAmericanHandbook.com
The ADC-RI Diversity and Law Enforcement Outreach Program is supported in-part through a grant from the Proteus National Security and Human Rights Pooled Fund.
NOTE: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.
The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.