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Enhancing Homeland Security Efforts by Building Strong Relationships between the Muslim Community and Local Law Enforcement

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Master's thesis

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Following the events of September 11, 2001, federal and local law enforcement agencies struggled to gather the investigative information necessary from the Muslim community to assist in efforts to follow up on the incident and to prevent future attacks. It is undeniable that building a strong relationship between the local police and the Muslim community is essential in defending America against acts of terrorism. Key to this relationship is trust and cultural understanding between the groups. This study sought to determine which factors associated with relationship building with established communities are applicable to the immigrant Muslim community. Specifically, the study examines the best practices used in an outreach effort to the African-American community in the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and how the use of those practices could produce results in the Muslim community. The examination includes generalizing potential implications associated with the successful African-American outreach process and testing the applicability of that process to the Muslim community building effort. Six community relationship factors common to the two community outreach projects were identified and examined. Only two of these six factors were found to have an influence on the outcome of the community outreach processes in the immigrant Muslim community police culture and community culture and language. The research further demonstrated that community policing is the cornerstone of community outreach, that individual relationships built by law enforcement officers form the platform for community outreach, and that the complexity of culture in new immigrant communities requires law enforcement to go beyond the traditional community policing efforts to attain acceptable levels of cultural competency. The study concludes that the best way to prevent terrorism is to build trust with the community one is serving.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Unconventional Warfare

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