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Law Enforcement to Participate in Muslim Awareness Program

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – Hundreds of law enforcement officials will take part in a sensitivity training program Friday in St. Louis designed to foster greater awareness of Arabs and Muslims.

James Hacking with the St. Louis chapter of the Council on Amercan-Islamic Relations says hate crimes, discrimination and cases of ethnic profiling against Arabs and Muslims are on the rise since the Iraq war.

He says he routinely receives complaints from Muslims who are detained at airports simply because of their Arabic names.

"The government has this list that if your name is on the list, then you can't fly without being really interrogated heavily," Hacking said. "And that causes all kinds of grief because they miss their flights, they miss their meetings and there's no procedure set in place that the government allows you to get your name off the list."

The seminar is part of the Islamic Society of North America's regional conference in St. Louis.

As many as 5,000 Muslims are expected to attend.