By Emily Heffter
Seattle Times staff reporter
Saturday, September 10, 2011
FBI agents participating in an outreach workshop Saturday hoped to improve their relationship with Seattle's Muslim, Arab, East African and Sikh communities, but ended up offending some participants.
About 20 community leaders attended the workshop at North Seattle Community College, which featured presentations by the FBI, Seattle police and the U.S. Attorney's Office. The event was aimed at improving communication and building trust between law enforcement and communities that feel targeted and profiled by authorities.
But the event grew confrontational during the FBI's presentation, which community members complained was too focused on Islamic terrorist groups. Then, the agents showed a PowerPoint slide about state-sponsored terrorism that included a photograph of a man many in the audience believed was a Shia Islamic leader based on his clothes. Several people in the audience asked whether it was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a political and religious leader who led the 1979 Iranian Revolution and died in 1989.
The photo was small, and the two FBI agents giving the presentation said they didn't know who it was. That offended members of the audience even more, and one of them compared it to calling the pope a terrorist or serving pork to Muslims.
More of the "outreach workshop" at "The Seattle Times"
muslims have no qualms about calling political and religious figures "terrorists", or serving halal food to people who may not wish to eat foods sacrificed to idols such as "Allah".