AHRC And ICD Co-Host a “Community Conversation” Against Hate:

By AmericaAmerican Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA)

Consistent with their active constructive engagement with law enforcement agencies and other government agencies, the American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) and the Islamic Center of Detroit (ICD) held their first of year 2024 “Meet, Greet and Open Conversation” on Wednesday, February 21st in Detroit.

The session hosted over eighty members of diverse groups that included invited community members, civic, religious, activities, educators, lawyers, members of the bench, and representatives of law enforcement agencies, local, state, and federal.

The session’s guests and presenters included Dawn Ison, US Attorney, Eastern District and the FBI Detroit Field office SAC Shea Gibson and members of his team. The guests outlined their agencies and departments’ work related to hate, acts of hate, and hate crimes amidst the increase in hate crimes, hate incidents and hateful rhetoric.

The event served as an informational platform for all participants who actively engaged with the discussion sharing views and different experiences. The Arab and Muslim American community shared their concerns over trying to live normal life while there is an ongoing genocide in Gaza which directly impacts the community.

Participants highlighted the rapid increase and spread of hate-speech and incitement against Arab and Muslim Americans because of their clear position on Gaza and US foreign policy on Israel. Participants cited many examples of hate and hate crimes that were committed and the ongoing efforts to suppress the First Amendment rights of Arab and Muslim Americans and others who strongly disagree with Israel and the Biden administration regarding Gaza,

Participants referred to the recent Wall Street Journal article that labeled Dearborn as Jihad City in America and the chilling effect that it brought on Dearborn’s community. In addition, participants shared the recent comment made by Congressman Olges of Tenses saying “Kill Them All” in reference to Gaza’s Palestinian children. All agreed that such hateful rhetoric is not accepted nor justified and contradicts true American values.

The US Attorney and the FBI stressed the importance of active community engagement and dialogue as one effective mechanism to combat hate, acts of hate and hate crimes. All the participants agreed on the importance of trust as the foundation of community-government engagement.

“I appreciated the opportunity to hear from the Arab and Muslim community about their genuine concerns about hate crimes and unfair stereotyping that affect them,” said Terrence Berg, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Michigan. “US Attorney Ison and FBI Special Agent in Charge Gibson made it clear that the federal response to hate crimes would be immediate and robust,” added Judge Berg.

“We always welcome and appreciate the opportunity to hear the richly diverse voices of the community. It is through this engagement that we will learn, grow, and work together to improve the quality of life of all citizens in this District,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison, Eastern District of Michigan. “We thank AHRC for bringing together my staff, members of the Court, and our law enforcement partners to collaborate on ways to identify, report, and prevent hate crimes. We are United Against Hate,” added Ms. Ison.

"Great events like these are a testament to the FBI's unwavering commitment to establishing trust and open communication in our communities," said Cheyvoryea Gibson, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. "Hate crimes are a top criminal priority for the FBI, and any violent act motivated by bias will not be tolerated. If you know of any hate crime committed against a community member, please report the incident immediately to your local police or the FBI at 1-800-225-5324. You may also submit an online tip at tips.fbi.gov. Let's stand up against hate crimes and hold perpetrators accountable." Continued Mr. Gibson.

“It was an honor to hear strong community voices uplifting anti-hate sentiments which were heard loud and clear by US Atty Dawn Ison and the many federal, state and local law enforcement officers,” said Denise Langford Morris, Retired Judge, Oakland County Circuit- Mediator, Arbitrator, JAMS-Detroit. “We must continue these open and honest discussions as we struggle to chart our future and strive for peace,” added Judge Langford Morris.

"I appreciate all our guests and their contributions to making this event a successful event," said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. "Ongoing dialogue and in-person meetings are key to building and sustaining the trust of all the stakeholders," added Hamad.