CENTURY CITY (CBSLA.com) — American Muslim leaders stood with law enforcement Thursday to address the escalation of violent extremism and offer solutions in their campaign against terror.
Stories about Islamic Isis extremists, the violent beheading of American Journalist James Foley and other disturbing headlines appear almost every day. The majority of these violent stories are condemned by those of the Muslim faith.
KCAL9’s Randy Paige spoke with members of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who hope to help condemn these violent acts.
“We need to create a public space so that the voice of the mainstream defines the community and empowers community to speak out against violence extremism,” said Salam al-Marayati, MPAC council member.
Through their campaign, the council calls on the Muslim community to help identify those who may show violent tendencies.
Those in need will be provided access to mental health experts, social service workers, teachers, peer councilors and youth coordinators, according to al-Marayati.
Officials hope that identified individuals will then contact law enforcement if all other efforts fail.
“Our job is to really make sure that the religion of Islam is not used for recruitment into violent extremism,” al-Marayati said. “Humanity will prevail over inhumanity.”
Paige also spoke with Los Angeles Police Department counterterrorism chief Mike Downing, who said the long-term solution is to reach out before violent thoughts turn into violent acts.
“We’d like to be in the position to build an off-ramp for somebody who’s started to think about this, but who hasn’t mobilized to violence yet,” Downing said. “The people of our communities, especially our interfaith communities, are our greatest strength.”
MPAC leaders said it is the responsibility for people of all faiths to put an end to violent extremism, as those who have committed unspeakable crimes do not always practice the same religion.
“Isis has nothing to do with Islam,” al-Marayati said. “It is a mafia; it is a group of thugs.”