LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to do more public outreach to combat hate crimes against any group and Islamophobia in particular.
Supervisor Hilda Solis, who championed the plan, urged residents to resist calls to scapegoat American-Muslims and individuals of Middle Eastern descent.
“This motion is about preventing more tragedy,” Solis said. “Anger and fear are understandable reactions to what happened in San Bernardino, but we cannot permit these feelings to grow into hate or bigotry against individuals who had nothing to do with this senseless violence.”
In voting for the motion, the board condemned the terrorist attack by a radicalized husband and wife who took the lives of 14 and injured 22 people in San Bernardino, while recognizing that “no religion or race or ethnicity is responsible for these acts.”
County staffers will reach out to residents via social media, asking them to reject stereotypes.
The board also asked District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Sheriff Jim McDonnell and the county’s Human Relations Commission to reach out more actively to Muslim, Sikh, South Asian and other groups that are the targets of hate crime and to swiftly respond to any threats of hate violence.
The property of a Sikh temple, or gurdwara, in Buena Park was vandalized earlier this month. The spray-painted graffiti included a profane reference to the terrorist group ISIS that was scrawled on a truck in the temple’s parking lot.
A spokesman for the Sikh community said Islamophobia hurts non-Muslims.
“Islamophobia does not only affect Muslims, it affects Sikhs, Christians, basically anyone of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent and even, after 9/11, Latinos were attacked because of their appearance, people were so rabid with hatred and fear,” said Nirinjan Singh Khalsa of the California Sikh Council.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl urged residents to hold themselves to a high standard.
“This is a time that asks all Americans to strive to be our best and bravest and wisest selves,” Kuehl said.
Focus on Islam, Focus on Peace
The Antelope Valley Chapter of the NAACP will “Focus on Islam, Focus on Peace” at a meeting this Thursday.
Guest speakers Kamal Al-Khatib, president and co-founder of the American Islamic Institute of Antelope Valley, and Ansar “Stan” Muhammad of the the Antelope Valley Chapter of the Nation of Islam will give presentations and answer questions.
“For those person[s] who are interested in what the Islamic religion is all about, this would be a great opportunity to learn,” stated AV NAACP President Shunnon Thomas.
The membership meeting will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Growing Valley Baptist Church, located at 44818 20th Street West in Lancaster.
NAACP General Membership Meetings are always open to the public.
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