Civic and political leaders in Philadelphia are the first cohort to complete a new training to help prevent domestic terrorism and targeted violence. “Tackle! Upstander Training” is a customized curriculum to help leaders in American cities develop local prevention frameworks to protect their communities from threats motivated by extremism or bigotry. The training provides an overview of federal, local and individual efforts for communities to respond systemically to potential threats.

Funded in part by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant, the Tackle! program is a partnership between Muflehun, a resource center providing solutions to complex social problems, and American Jewish Committee, a leading advocacy organization with 24 regional offices across the U.S.

“Domestic terrorism threatens the safety of all Americans. Each of us has a role to play in keeping our communities safe. We are excited by the enthusiasm of the Philadelphia workshop participants to strengthen their local prevention frameworks and we look forward to engaging with many other leaders across the country,” said Humera Khan, President of Muflehun.

The inaugural cohort of Tackle! was hosted by the Philadelphia Circle of Friends (COF), a regional affiliate of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC). MJAC, a national coalition founded in 2016 by AJC with Muslim and Jewish partners, works to combat hate, antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry. The 13 trainees included leaders in the offices of State Senators and Representatives, City Council Members, university diversity officers, NGOs and the City of Philadelphia’s Human Relations Commission.

“We are confident that after the Tackle! training, local leaders in our networks will play a critical role in developing prevention frameworks that fit the needs of Philadelphia and surrounding counties,” said COF Co-Chairs Mike Fabius and Mohamed Bakry.

Tackle! takes a public health approach to stopping domestic terrorism and targeted violence. Participants in the Tackle! 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.

The eight hours of training includes the DHS Community Awareness Briefing (CAB), which helps communities develop an understanding of violent extremist recruitment tactics and explore ways to collectively prevent and address public safety threats at the local level.  The CAB session is supplemented with a focus on the tropes used to promote antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry, among other forms of hate.

The Tackle! Upstander training in Philadelphia was the first in a series of 10 trainings across the country to pilot the curriculum with civic and political leaders. The pilot 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.

“For too long we sat idly by and watched extremism and bigotry escalate to violence, some fatal, in American cities,” said Ari Gordon, AJC Director of Muslim-Jewish Relations. “We must stop pointing fingers and start taking action. Regardless their target, every group and sector of society has the responsibility and capability to help prevent these heinous attacks.”

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