Miller Initiative Supports Summit on Fighting Violence Against Religious Communities
Senior officials from Rutgers University along with the Secure Community Network (SCN), the official national homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, convened a two-day Security Leadership Summit in New York City to discuss the importance of community and police relationships in the fight against extremism and violence targeting religious and ethnic communities.
“The threat of violence to religious communities and in particular Jewish communities worldwide is one of the most significant issues facing law enforcement and security officials,” said keynote speaker John D. Cohen, Professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. “We are facing an alarming level of violence against those communities globally and that fact needs to be incorporated into policing strategies employed at the local level.” Cohen is a former acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis and Counter Terrorism Coordinator at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The June 11-12, 2014 summit was supported by the Miller Family International Initiative Fund established by retired pharmaceutical executive Paul S. Miller, a 1962 graduate of Rutgers School of Law–Newark. Professor Cohen and Rutgers Senior Vice President and General Counsel John J. Farmer, Jr., through the Miller Initiative and their work with the new Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security at Rutgers, will undertake an assessment of the issue of violence against religious and minority communities. They will study how best to combat threats associated with extremist violence and ultranationalist activities in Europe, South America and the United States.
“This work is especially timely,” said Paul Miller, “in light of the two recent, fatal shooting attacks targeting Jewish community organizations in Overland Park, Kansas and Brussels, Belgium.”
“The need for the development of police-community partnerships to combat violent extremism has never been more acute,” said John Farmer during a keynote speech addressing 200 international police executives at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in the Netherlands. Farmer, a former Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, was Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission and principal author of its final report.
The Security Leadership Summit featured briefings, panel discussions and presentations by senior officials from the U.S. State Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Police Department, and other government and law enforcement officials and community leaders. Among those taking part in the summit were security leaders from Jewish communities across the globe.
“Damage done by extremist violence and intimidation cannot be measured solely in terms of physical injuries or dollars. For this reason, extremist and ideologically-based violence requires a special response from law enforcement and community leadership,” said Paul Goldenberg, National Director, Secure Community Network. “This event, dialogue and the Miller Initiative are about empowering communities to build capacity with police and government officials and to become active participants in the safety and security of their own communities.”
About Secure Community Network
The Secure Community Network (SCN) is the official national homeland security initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Through information sharing, security awareness, training and security consultation, SCN strives to empower individuals and organizations in establishing a culture of security awareness, preparedness and resiliency throughout its communities. In 2009, SCN was recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a national model for information sharing and faith-based homeland security initiatives.