Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, in conjunction with Abdelnasser Hussein, Principal of the Islamic School of Rhode Island, announce an open dialogue forum between Rhode Island law enforcement leaders and Muslim community leaders. The discussion will be held:

Monday, December 21, 2015
5:00 p.m.
Islamic School of Rhode Island
840 (Rear) Providence Street
West Warwick, Rhode Island

In light of recent anti-Muslim sentiment, the controversy surrounding the San Bernardino terrorist event, and the elevated fear of those law-abiding members of the Muslim community, Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, West Warwick Police Chief Richard Silva, Islamic School of Rhode Island (ISRI) Principal Abdelnasser Hussein, leaders of the Muslim community representing the Rhode Island Council of Muslim Advancement (RICMA), ISRI parents and members of the Muslim community will meet to create and maintain an ongoing dialogue between the Muslim community and law enforcement. Parents and community members will be able to ask questions and discuss concerns. It is of note that the above partnership has been going on for years, but in light of the current state of affairs, we all felt it was critical at this point to collaborate, educate to condemn what transpired in California, and also to work together to try to prevent any hate-type crimes and give everybody a greater understanding of the complexities of this issue.

Colonel O’Donnell stated, “It is incumbent upon our State Police to have open and honest dialogue with every aspect of our community in order to keep citizens of this state safe. The dialogue is open ended for those attending the event to learn about how law enforcement responds to these events and for the Muslim community to share their thoughts and ideas of how to make our community stronger, more cohesive, and safer.”

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin stated, “As is often the case, maintaining open lines of communication and transparency between government agencies and Rhode Island citizens and specific communities within the state, goes a long way in dispelling the myths, rumors, and fear that sometimes grow around events. This effort will help move the dialogue forward in a positive manner.”

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha stated, “I look forward to joining our law enforcement colleagues and the Muslim community to continue the open and honest dialogue that has been the staple of our relationship. The Paris attacks, and now San Bernardino, have understandably raised people’s anxieties and concerns. But it is important that as Americans, we don’t let fear drive us away from our values and toward hateful and divisive acts toward others.

West Warwick Police Chief Silva stated, “The Police Department has maintained an excellent partnership with the Islamic School and is committed to continuing to work closely with the administrators, staff and student body, and take a proactive approach to address any concerns and problems they may have. It is important to have open lines of communication with our partners to help promote safe environments in our schools and community.”