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COMMENTARY: Press conference highlights Fort Bend’s diversity, commitment to security

Michael Sudhalter

Michael Sudhalter

Fort Bend County is home to the most diverse population in the United States, and many of our residents take pride in that fact.

But diversity means a lot more when groups build bridges and stand together in a cause for something important.

That’s why I’m very proud today of Fort Bend law enforcement officials and leaders of the Muslim-American community for standing together at a press conference last week in support of national security and against religious/ethnic discrimination at the Maryam Islamic Center in Sugar Land.

Donald Trump, a Republican presidential candidate and billionaire businessman, has recently stoked the ills of xenophobia and racism in the wake of ISIS or ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks in France and California, respectively.

Trump leads many GOP polls and has found an audience of folks who are looking at “blame game” politics.

Unfortunately, some of these negative trends have reached our doorstep of diversity in Fort Bend.

Just last week, I received an e-mail from a man who said his daughter was bullied at a Fort Bend school for being Muslim.

It was difficult to hear that. I had been bullied before for my Jewish faith, and I understand the pain.

One of the things that I love about being an American is that we’re all in this together.

Even as there’s conflict and war in other parts of the world, we can build friendships and understanding regardless of our ethnic and/or religious backgrounds.

Kudos to Fort Bend law enforcement leaders such as Sheriff Troy Nehls, who is facing re-election in a Republican primary in March.

Nehls is more concerned with building bridges in the community and keeping Fort Bend safe than he is with making political moves.

As a retired Army officer and law enforcement professional, Nehls understands that superior intelligence is the key to security, whether it’s locally, regionally or nationally.

Trump doesn’t get that, and he just wants to inflame anger. The candidate that speaks the loudest and rudest may garner the most headlines, but he or she won’t solve the nation’s problems.

With that said, our country needs a president with a foreign policy that’s clearer, stronger, more active and smarter than what we’ve seen from the Obama Administration.

Yes, President Barack Obama successfully oversaw the operation to capture Osama bin Laden, but he was arrogant and foolhardy in dismissing ISIS as the “JV Team” and not nipping the problem in the bud.

Sure, there are serious political issues that deserve vigorous debate and discussion, but we need to make sure those talks happen without discrimination and bigotry.

America is a place where citizens of many faith backgrounds stand together in the name of peace and security.

Law enforcement relies on our diverse communities to report when there’s something suspicious or out of the ordinary. It is more difficult to build those relationships when communities are suspicious of law enforcement.

“We are standing in unity with our Muslim American citizens,” Sugar Land Police Chief Doug Brinkley said, according to KRTK Houston, at the press conference. “We want you to stand up as well. If you see something say something.”

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