Law agencies trying to recruit Muslims
CNN New York Bureau
PATERSON, New Jersey (CNN) -- Law enforcement agencies reached out to the Muslim community here Saturday night to ease tensions created following the September 11 attacks and to fill the need for agents and other officials with Arabic and Farsi language skills.
Federal, state and local agencies, including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the New Jersey State Police held a job fair at the Islamic Center of Passaic County, one of the largest mosques in this area.
"The career fair is for everybody. Obviously we're grateful to get the Islamic people here, too," said Anthony Colegary, a recruiter for the Secret Service.
Anas Abedrabough, a Syrian immigrant, was one of the people who came to the mosque Sunday, both to pray and to look for a job.
He said he would not be uncomfortable if he was asked to monitor a mosque's activities, which is allowed under new FBI guidelines.
"I'm OK with that. I don't have a problem. We have nothing to hide," Abedrabough said.
Mosque leaders said they had a good working relationship with the FBI prior to the September 11 attacks.
After the attacks, agents came to the mosque, seeking information.
The FBI has detained thousands of Muslim non-citizens on immigration violations since September 11, and civil rights groups have sued to force the Justice Department to release information about them.
Sohail Mohammed, an attorney for 18 of those being held, helped sponsor the job fair. He said Muslims should be represented in federal law enforcement agencies.
"Why don't we have fair representation of American Muslims in your forces? We ought to be asking that. Why [are] you agencies suspicious of Muslim activities?" Mohammed asked.
"Why is our places of worship the focus of your attention, when you know the hijackers weren't worshipping at religious centers, but they were hanging out at bars?"
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