Seminar in Fresno tackles Muslim public perception

FRESNO, Calif.

Two assistant U.S. Attorneys spent part of their day at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno.

The plan was to show young Muslims how they can build a career by practicing law but members of the mosque also took it as an oportunity to discuss how they can help give Muslims a positive public image.

The chief of the Fresno U.S. Attorney's Office, Mark Cullers and his assitant Yasin Mohammad lead the discussions explaining to young Muslims how their office prosecutes and defends the US Government in criminal and civil cases.

"The department wants to reach out to all communities, incliduding the Muslim community."

Mohammad, a Muslim and Assistant U.S. Attorney says reaching out to those in the Islamic faith is important for him because, as he says, there's a negative public perseption about Muslims.

"I think that the religion has been hijacked, by a terrorist element, that's a small element. But it's sort of sensational and it's kind of hijacked the entire religion which doesn't really agree with that part of it."

He hopes events like this will help change that, by brigning Muslims together to talk about their future roles in society.

Some in the crowd also took the seminar as a chance for them to hear how Federal Prosecutors view Muslims.

Cullers says Muslim rights should be treated like everyone else's. And, he says, his office works tirelessly to protect each person's basic constitutional rights.

"We think promoting a dialogue promotes a healthy community and safe community."

And that's what Mohammad is trying to do with his work as a federal prosecutor.

"We are all about interfaith efforts, we're all about making a positive difference in society."

"I think what helps with that perception is each individual Muslim living a good humanitarian life."

Students at the event say hearing about law and it's power to protect everyone's rights is a great way of living that humanitarian life.

"It's good to get members from different communities involved in the legal field. And I feel that it's important that Muslims have an active role," Noreen Mansuri said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says it will hold similar employment seminars with any community that requests it.

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