The theme of the 2017 conference was “Security and American Muslims: National Conversation, Local Impact.” The aim was to problematize the narrative which links American security with American Muslims – a narrative that has led to questionable techniques, policies, and sentiments which treat American Muslims simultaneously as both “allies” and as suspects. We dove deeper into the issues involved and thought about important ways of moving forward that are productive and ethically responsible. Our two keynotes were Ambassador Alberto Fernandez, current president of the Middle East Broadcasting Network, and Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. Our respondent was Harris Tarin, Senior Policy Advisory, Department of Homeland Security. We also organized a facilitated grass-roots networking session and a panel of local experts and practitioners that represented different faith and cultural communities, allowing us to clearly tie the local and national conversation on the narrative linking American national security to Muslims and Islam.
“At a Glance” Conference Program
8:00 am registration and doors open
9:15 to 10:00 keynote speaker: Faiza Patel, co-director, Liberty and National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice, NYC.
10:00 to 10:15 break
10:15 to 11:00 keynote speaker: Ambassador Alberto Fernandez (retired), former director for the Center for Strategic Counter-terrorism Communications (recently renamed as the Global Engagement Center), former vice-president of Middle East Media Research Institute, and current president of Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
11:00 to noon: Q & A with both keynotes
Noon to 1:00 pm lunch with facilitated discussion
1:00 to 2:00 pm “Organizing Across Communities” networking/working session
2:00 to 2:15 break
2:15 to 3:15 panel: “Amplifying Muslim Voices.” Respondent, Haris Tarin, Senior Policy Advisor, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security.
3:15 to 3:30 closing