|BSO gave out this Crime Stoppers flier at the meeting.|
The men file in slowly to the meeting room at the Broward Sheriff's Office headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. "As-Salaam-Alaikum," they greet one another, shaking hands, smiling warmly at
a Sunrise police officer they recognize from prayer services.
About 25 men are here, some wearing skull caps, others wearing police uniforms. The civilians represent mosques from all over South Florida -- Pompano, Hollywood, Fort
Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City. They gathered last Wednesday evening to meet the police officers from their towns.
It's the first meeting of
its kind in Broward, organized by the Florida Muslim Congress, a group that promotes
education and cooperation between Muslims and law enforcement officials. The goal is to help
ordinary citizens understand terrorism laws and avoid being accidentally linked to extremists.
Nezar Hamze, a member of the Florida Muslim Congress and executive director of the South
Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is leading tonight's meeting.
"Our community leaders saw a need to deal with some serious issues," he says.