Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Makes Outreach to Muslims Part of His Mission

LOS ANGELES — On a damp and dreary Saturday two months ago, several hundred mourners gathered outside City Hall here for a memorial service honoring Dr. Maher Hathout. Born in Egypt and trained as a cardiologist, Dr. Hathout, 79, had devoted decades to espousing a moderate version of Islam and reaching across denominational lines to other faiths.

So there was nothing surprising about the presence of rabbis and priests, Sikhs and Episcopalians at the service. The unexpected moment came when a man in a different sort of vestment, the dark blue uniform of the Los Angeles Police Department, knelt before Dr. Hathout’s widow and presented her with the carefully folded triangle of an American flag.

For the man in the uniform, Deputy Chief Michael Downing, that moment distilled the uncommon role he has within the department. While his full title aptly describes his investigative mission — commanding officer of the counterterrorism and special operations bureau — it omits what has become the signature element of his 33-year career. In a city with a history of traumatic, adversarial relations between the police force and various minority groups, Muslims among them, Chief Downing has forged bonds that are both durable and contentious.

“He has delivered,” said Salam al-Marayati, 54, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a national advocacy group founded in Los Angeles. “He’s been outspoken against Islamophobia, and he’s stood up to criticism for listening to us”…

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  • Censored_often

    All I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11. The rest is commentary. Go and learn.

    WTF with this police chief? Political correctness and idiocy is killing the west.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      The position of LAPD Police Chief is entirely a political position after the Darryl Gates era.

  • Yusuf_Al_Kafir

    At the same time that the West is on high alert for any violence against women, our police forces are all making attempts to win over their local Muslim community.

    Awkwarrrrrd!

  • Martin B

    “Chief Downing established a regular forum to meet with Muslim leaders, modeled after one he had formed with the gay activists in Hollywood”

    Do Chief Downing and those gay activists know what the Muzz have in store for them?

    • Frau Katze

      Nope. They’re drunk on Diversity Kool Ade.

  • Martin Luffa

    This sounds like Nazis have infiltrated the LAPD, but that’s ok because Diversity.

  • I reached my hand out to Crimea.

  • J. C.

    So when attacked by a Muzz, don’t bother the Fuzz???

  • Editor

    Hey, if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for the LAPD.