‘Overwhelming’ attendance at Muslim and Immigrant Safety Forum and Dinner | Letter

Last year, the Muslim Community and Neighborhood Association (MCNA) organized a Muslim Safety forum with the Bellevue Police Department (BPD) and police departments from Redmond, Issaquah, Sammamish, Mercer Island and Kirkland. All chiefs of police did one topic at the presentation. Around 150 people attended and people liked it. Four days later, on Jan. 14, 2017, the Islamic Center of the Eastside in Bellevue was burned by an arson. On Jan. 15, around 600 people and leaders from different ethnicities and races showed up at Sammamish High School to show support to the Muslim community. That is a true love and support from neighbors.

This year on Jan. 3, MCNA and BPD organized the second safety event and added immigrant to the events so it will not focus only on Muslims. The attendance at the Bellevue School District building was overwhelming. The expected number was around 100 and more than 180 people showed up. People were standing on the sides as no chairs were available.

Major Carl Klienknect from BPD and myself were the main organizers, running the event with the chiefs of police and under the support of BPD Chief Steve Mylett, who always supports local communities, and with the participation from the Islamic centers and organizations on the Eastside.

The event started with a short welcome from the Imam of the Islamic Center of Redmond, Suhail Mohamed, and Brad Miyake, the city manager of Bellevue. The event was divided to two parts, one was presentations done by the chiefs, followed by Q and A. The other part was a table facilitation managed by Marci McReynolds, co-manager of the Bellevue Neighborhood Mediation program. Each chief of police or law enforcement agent sat on one of the 14 tables and had a conversation with the attendees, who asked questions about safety. That part was very welcomed from the attendees as many felt it’s great to have small group talk with the chiefs and officers. The Indian dinner was great and people enjoyed it; it was a gift from the Islamic centers of the Eastside.

Mohamed Bakr

Muslim Community and Neighborhood Association

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