Program aims to confront domestic terrorism
Political and other civic leaders in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex have completed Tackle! Upstander Training, a program sponsored by two nongovernmental organizations to help prevent domestic terrorism and targeted violence.
Tackle! is a customized curriculum to empower public officials in American cities to develop local prevention frameworks to protect their communities from threats motivated by extremism or bigotry. Funded in part by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant, Tackle! is a partnership between Muflehun, a resource center providing solutions to complex social problems, and American Jewish Committee (AJC), a leading advocacy organization with 24 regional offices across the United States.
“Domestic terrorism threatens the safety of all Americans. Each of us has a role to play in keeping our communities safe,” said Humera Khan, president of Muflehun. “We are excited by the commitment and enthusiasm of the Dallas workshop participants to strengthen their local prevention frameworks and we look forward to engaging with many other leaders across the country.”
The training provides an overview of federal, local and individual best practices, as well as practical case studies, for communities to respond systemically to potential threats.
The 39 trainees included leaders in the offices of members of Congress, state representatives, the Dallas County district attorney, City Council members, county judges, school district security directors, police chiefs and the City of Fort Worth’s deputy chief of staff for the mayor and city council.
The Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate of the national Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) hosted the training sessions. MJAC, founded in 2016 by AJC with Muslim and Jewish partners, works to combat hate, antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry.
“The Tackle! Upstander Training empowers our local civic and political leaders with the knowledge as well as the tools to make our communities safer from the threats of domestic terrorism and targeted violence,” said Mohamed Elibiary, MJAC Dallas-Fort Worth co-chair and a former adviser to DHS.
MJAC Dallas-Fort Worth Co-chair Mark Zilbermann stated: “We are confident that after the Tackle! training, participants will play a critical role in developing prevention frameworks that fit the unique needs of Dallas and surrounding counties.”
Tackle! takes a public health approach to preventing domestic terrorism and targeted violence. Participants in the program learn to focus on prevention through community resilience against radicalization to violence, early interventions with those mobilizing to violence and developing tools to respond to tangible threats and attacks.
“We are heartened to see community leaders and law enforcement coming together to combat hate and targeted violence in North Texas. This collaborative and multidisciplinary approach is the best to address this issue,” said Rami and Jenna Jabara of the Khalid Jabara Family Foundation.
The eight hours of training in the Tackle! curriculum include the DHS Community Awareness Briefing (CAB), which familiarizes communities with violent extremist recruitment tactics and ways to prevent and address local threats to public safety. It also includes a supplemental unit on common tropes used to promote antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry, among other forms of hate.
Dallas is the second city to receive Tackle! Upstander trainings in a series of programs across the country to pilot the curriculum with civic and political leaders. The trainings are led by Muslim and Jewish coaches working in pairs to bring awareness to the threat of extremist ideologies that threaten the safety of all Americans.
“No community is immune from the threats addressed by Tackle! It is gratifying to see leaders from school districts, elected office, law enforcement and other sectors come together to build capacity for our North Texas as a resilient community,” said AJC Dallas Regional Director Joel Schwitzer.