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Facing Fear in Our Houses of Worship Jan 19 2016

Facing Fear

Interfaith Partners of South Carolina will present a special program called “Facing Fear In Our Houses of Worship” on Tuesday, January 19, 2015, 7:30 – 9:00 PM at 228 O’Neil Court (SGI Buddhist Community Center in Columbia, S.C.

Featured speakers include:

Haris Tarin, Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties –   The former director of the Washington DC office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has engaged various agencies within government including the White House, Department of Justice, State Department, Department of Homeland Security and offices on Capitol Hill. Haris was among three leading young Americans President Barack Obama called and then met with to discuss policies pertaining to national security, countering violent extremism, the American Muslim community and civic engagement.  Haris has been published in various national and international publications including the LA Times, CNN, Washington Post and has a regular column on the Huffington Post. He has spoken at various domestic and international conferences and media outlets on topics such as National Security, Islam and governance, US-Muslim World Relations, Role of the American Muslim institutions in Policy Formation, Religion and Public Life, and Civic Engagement. Haris is an Ariane de Rothschild Cambridge Fellow and a USC/Georgetown AMCLI Fellow and is also the author of Intro to Muslim America and Rethinking the Redlines: Free Speech, Religious Freedom and Social Change.

Leon Lott, Richland County Sheriff – Our own Sheriff Lott hardly needs an introduction, having enjoyed a distinguished 40-year career in law enforcement serving in many capacities, including patrol officer, criminal investigator, narcotics agent, lieutenant and captain of the narcotics division, administrative captain, uniform patrol captain, a watch commander and chief of police in St. Matthews, S.C.  In 1996 Sheriff Lott was elected Sheriff of Richland County, a position he has held for nearly 20 years.  Over the span of his career he has received numerous awards and served on countless community boards.

Brian M. Jones, Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Federal Bureau of Investigation – Supervisory Special Agent Jones joined the FBI in 2002.  His first assignment was in Columbia, SC, where he was assigned to a White Collar Crime Squad.  In 2003, he was assigned to the Gang/Criminal Enterprise and Violent Crime Squad where he primarily focused on investigating violent gangs in the Columbia area. From 2009 to 2010, SSA Jones was assigned to the FBI’s Gang Unit at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  While at FBIHQ, SSA Jones was responsible for managing all FBI gang task forces in the northeast region of the United States.  In 2010, SSA Jones returned to Columbia and continued to investigate and lead the most complex criminal gang investigations in Columbia. He currently supervises all white collar crime, civil rights, and public corruption investigations in the Columbia area.

“Following the tragic shootings in Charleston last summer, many of us have wondered what we would do, or what we should do, if a violent person disrupted one of our services,” said Holli Emore of Interfaith Partners of S.C. (Board of Directors).  “Each of these fine agencies offers outstanding workshops on creating a safety plan for your congregation, but Interfaith Partners includes many from faiths which do not fit the typical mold of Midlands churches.  Furthermore, in the current climate of virulent public comments by some political candidates, any individual or group whose beliefs are perceived as different may become a target for violence.  We wanted a chance to discuss our fears with these experts, not just learning about security cameras, but talking about how to live day to day in a world which is becoming more fearful and violent.”

Each speaker will also share information about how guests may attend safety training offered by their specific agency.  “Facing Fear” is free and open to all.  During the month of January, many congregations and religious groups will hold special events and services during which they will welcome people who are not members of their group to visit. (Schedule follows, below, and regular updates posted at interfaithpartnersofsc.org and on Facebook.)  “Facing Fear” is one of the programs being offered.

Interfaith Partners of South Carolina (IPSC) is a five-year-old statewide organization with representation from many religions, including Buddhist, Christian, Baha’i, Muslim, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, Pagan, Native American Spirituality, Sikh religious representatives.  The mission of Interfaith Partners of South Carolina is to foster understanding and cooperation among the religious groups of the state through education, dialogue and collaborative projects, in order to assure that: all people are treated with dignity and respect; the religious freedom of all groups is protected; each religious group’s practices and teachings are given respectful consideration; and interfaith discussions will become conversation models that others will want to emulate.

For more information, contact Holli Emore, holli@sc.rr.com or 803-798-8007.