Sikhs, Muslims Discuss Training with Chicago Police

May 22, 2002

Source: Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago press release

On May 22, 2002 a Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago press release reported, "In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Supt. Terry G. Hillard and other top Chicago Police officials began meeting with leaders of Chicago-area Sikh, Muslim, Orthodox Greek and Middle Eastern community groups who voiced concerns about racial profiling and a spike in hate crimes immediately following the terrorist attacks.

The honest and up-front dialogue that has marked the private meetings is now beginning to yield positive and tangible results. Those results include a commitment by the Chicago Police Department to supplement ongoing diversity training with specific instruction about religious and ethnic customs as it pertains to individuals of Middle Eastern descent...

'With security concerns paramount in current times of turmoil, it is critical to have strong elements of trust and understanding between our law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve,' added Kareem M. Irfan, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. 'Supt. Hillard's forums accomplish that objective and are worthy of replication across the country'... One result of the ongoing talks is a new 12-minute training video, featuring forum participants who explain the significance of their religious garments and customs while offering helpful tips for avoiding misunderstandings during searches at airports... The video is currently being used to train officers assigned to work airport security on behalf of the Transportation Security Administration. The video will augment the four hours of training officers are receiving in preparation for their new responsibilities. Additional diversity training videos are being developed for department-wide distribution... The new outreach to the Middle Eastern and Indian communities was prompted by a sharp increase in hate crimes in Chicago following the Sept. 11 attacks. During that month alone, the number of hate crimes based on national origin jumped nine fold from the previous year, to more than 40. The majority of victims in those cases were of Middle Eastern descent or Muslims."