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LAPD Chief, religious leaders call for peace

September 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
From the sectarian civil war in Syria to the religious extremists blamed for the attack on a mall in Kenya, the potential for violence involving different ethnic and religious groups is nothing new. But in Los Angeles Friday, the message was about peace and unity.

"This is the way we run this city- constant interaction, constant partnership, belief in each other, and support for each other," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Representatives from several local religious groups stood side by side with Los Angeles' top law enforcement officials outside of the LAPD's administration building in downtown.

Fr. Cyril Gorgy of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church spoke about the importance of tolerance across Los Angeles, a city known for religious diversity.

"All the different major faith leaders of L.A., despite all of our different doctrines, are gathered together unified as Angelenos with a message of peace and respect to each other," said Gorgy.

The news conference held on Friday was aimed at showcasing law enforcement's efforts to partner with religious leaders as a way to ensure a safe and peaceful city.

"We have not seen sectarian violence in the city of Los Angeles, nor will we," said Beck.

Dr. Mayher Hathout of the Islamic Center of Southern California stressed the importance of taking a stand peacefully.

"We are all vulnerable and we are all passionate people but we should, particularly interfaith leaders, their message should be very clear, not on this land," said Hathout.

Deputy Chief Michael Downing is head of the LAPD's Counter Terrorist and Special Operations Bureau. He says the department focuses on remaining vigilant, but he says avoiding a terror attack in Los Angeles will come down to communication.

"The more people we have involved, the more eyes and ears, the more trust we build that the communities will want to protect the values of our country as much as we do," said Downing.


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