Southern California FBI agents to learn Muslim traditions

Posted: Friday, September 27, 2002

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- FBI agents in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties will be trained to better understand the Muslim community and win its cooperation in the war on terrorism through an effort organized by local Muslim leaders.

The FBI is planning the diversity training workshops for the three counties.

''The Arab and Muslim community felt that we were misreading them,'' said Stephen Steinhauser, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge of the three-county region. ''None of this on the part of the agents has been intentional.''

Muslim leaders have offered several tips to the agents, including:

--If a witness isn't answering the door right away, chances are the woman of the house is putting on her headscarf. Be patient.

--If you walk into a mosque with your shoes on, congregants will probably not cooperate because you've shown disrespect.

--''If they want to search somebody, it's preferable to have a man searched by a male agent and a woman searched by a female agent,'' said Ra'id Faraj of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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