Federal Program Hopes To Help Muslims, Arabs

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The Obama Administration says treating all Americans fairly while still ferreting out possible terrorists is difficult work, and has tabbed U-S Attorney Stephen Dettlebach to head its new outreach program.

Even though the 9-11 attacks were ten years ago, Dettlebach says stereotypes cloud many people's judgment, so the program's goal is primarily one of explanation.

"It's about letting people in the Arab and Muslim community know that we won't accept intolerance and bigotry, and it's about letting the broader community know the important message that people in these communities are patriotic and productive members of our community; and it's wrong and frankly un-American to treat them any other way."

Dettlebach says he was chosen to lead the program in part because of how Arab immigrants and Muslim Americans have assimilated in Northeast Ohio, where federal officials have spent years making inroads and making friends, meeting with groups of 2, to groups of hundreds.

He introduced the program at the CASE Western Reserve University's Gund School of Law -- in a packed auditorium.

Freshman Yssra [Notes:pron: yes shra] Salman's parents immigrated from Egypt. She related to Dettlebach's comments on different generations having different concerns.

"I was born in the US, so this is the government I've known; while my parents - they came here; they faced different challenges than what we faced. We were raised as American kids, they were raised as, obviously, immigrants. It's a completely different generation."

As it grows, Dettlebach says it's important the task force be flexible, to deal with pressing problems, and with general issues common to Muslim and Arab communities.

Rick Jackson, 90.3.

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