FBI, local Muslim leaders working together

Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-25 10:12:17-04

It was two days ago Thursday that deadly bombings in the Brussels region of Belgium brought a renewed focus to the threat posed by the Islamic State, and in the Baltimore region, Islamic leaders and law enforcement said they were working together to protect Americans.

Belgian officials declared three days of national mourning after the attacks.

See: The difference between ISIS and ISIL

Here at home, the Baltimore region is home to a large Muslim population, where Muslim leaders called links between those attacks and Islam ill-thought.

"These attacks are not related to Islam. They are related to evil minds amongst those who claim to be Muslims," said Mohammad Jameel, president of the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

President Barack Obama visited the mosque in February in a show of solidarity with the Muslim community and called on the nation to reject rhetoric that expressed anti-Muslim sentiments.

Related: Obama makes first presidential visit to U.S. mosque, says Islam is rooted in peace

The Brussels attacks again have brought intense focus to the United States' efforts to fight terror, both homegrown and threats posed by militants of the Islamic State group abroad.

"We follow evidence, we follow fact," said FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins. "It takes a lot of work on behalf of both communities. We do a lot of outreach work with the Muslim leadership, and to their credit, they reach out to us, as well."

President Obama responded to the attacks Wednesday from Argentina following his trip to Cuba. Obama said we must work in conjunction with our allies abroad, including Muslim leaders.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat representing Maryland's second district, said the same in an interview Thursday.

"As the leader of the world, we need to help our other allies get them to where they need to be," said Ruppersberger.

Jameel encouraged those with questions about Islam to contact his or another mosque in an effort to educate themselves.

"Any terrorist act, anywhere, is a hurt for the people that are civilized," he said.

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