Arab, Muslim Cultures Focus of Law-Enforcement Video

February 5, 2007

Author: Audrey Hudson

Source: The Washington Times

An Arab man is being questioned by law-enforcement officers and suddenly becomes uncooperative and refuses to make eye contact. Suspicious behavior or a clash of cultures?

The latter, according to a new training DVD that will be distributed to nearly 200,000 Homeland Security employees. A panel of Arab and Muslim scholars shown in the training video said it's a misconception that the action is evasive -- Arab culture considers it impolite to stare.

"The times in which we live, I think it is very important that all Americans understand Islam -- for law enforcement, it can be a matter of life and death," said Akbar Ahmed, professor of international relations at American University and one panelist in the video.

"Take the security aspects of 9/11. All 19 hijackers and terrorists: Muslims. American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: Muslim nations. The most-wanted people on the terror list: Osama bin Laden and [Abu Musab] Zarqawi: Muslims."

Mr. Ahmed said Muslims are also supporters and allies of the U.S., and that "it is important at this stage in history to understand Islam."