Kenric Ward’s blog | Posted: March 29, 2012
A warm and fuzzy meeting of Muslims leaders and Broward County sheriff’s officers is giving a congressional candidate the chills.
The first-ever gathering earlier this month, set up by the Florida Muslim Congress, was designed to improve communication and understanding between cops and members of the Islamic community.
“At times, the speeches sound like a PR campaign for Sheriff Al Lamberti,” reported Broward New Times. All agreed that the level of trust between law enforcement and Muslim could stand improvement.
“I wish your department would do more about prevention,” Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, of the American Muslim Association of North America, was quoted as saying. When politicians bash Muslims, “that will lead to hate crimes.”
Members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also spoke of the need for more education and outreach.
The meeting, which included a break for evening prayer, didn’t go over so well with Joe Kaufman, a Republican candidate opposing Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fort Lauderdale.
“I like and respect Sheriff Lamberti, but I think it is very unwise to allow radical Muslim groups such as CAIR and AMANA to get close to the department.
“Organizations connected to terrorism and bigotry should have no place in law enforcement and no place in society, as they are a danger to society. The sheriff’s office should cease all activities with these groups,” Kaufman told Sunshine State News.
“As congressman, I will never meet with any of these organizations. I will only work to shut them down, as I’ve been doing for the past 10 years,” said Kaufman, who heads the group Americans Against Hate.