Law Enforcement Meets with Muslim Community to Talk Ramadan Safety

Ramadan is a period of fasting and spiritual growth. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. This year Ramadan runs from Sunday, March 10 — Tuesday, April 9.

Law Enforcement Meets with Muslim Community to Talk Ramadan Safety
Law Enforcement meets with the Muslim Community in preparation for Ramadan. Photo Credit: Raymond Tyler

ATLANTIC CITY — Law enforcement and the Muslim community met at Masjid Muhammad recently to discuss safety protocols for the month-long celebration of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a period of fasting and spiritual growth and is one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four include daily prayer, giving alms which is giving money or food to the poor, declaring one’s faith and making the pilgrimage to Mecca. This year Ramadan runs from Sunday, March 10 — Tuesday, April 9. Anti-Muslim hate speech has increased through the years and hate speech, in some instances, is followed by acts of aggression, particularly during religious celebrations.

City Council Vice President Kaleem Shabazz, who organized the meeting, said, "The purpose of this meeting is really three-fold. First of all, [it is] to let law enforcement know how Ramadan impacts people in the community and how it impacts law enforcement. Secondly, [it is] to let the Muslim community know that law enforcement is sure that they are going to do everything they can to ensure the security and safety of houses of worship.”

Shabazz added that community representatives from both the Jewish and Christian communities attended to show their support.

“Unfortunately, we know that there have been attacks on Imams, attacks on mosques, attacks on synagogues and churches,” Shabazz said. “And we’re hoping that in the 30-day period of Ramadan, that doesn’t happen, but we want to be prepared and we want law enforcement to know that we are partnered with them to have a safe and secure Ramadan.”

Representatives from every level of law enforcement came to reassure Muslims that they would be safe. This included the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office as well as the Atlantic County Sheriff. The Atlantic City Police Department was also present.

Police Chief James A. Sarkos said there would be increased patrols near the mosque at dawn and dusk.

“I think we’ve developed some really good working relationships over the years, but more importantly, we’ve developed some really good friendships,” said Sarkos. “And I hope that we’ve developed a lot of trust between each other.”

Atlantic County Sheriff Joe O’Donoghue said he supports the Muslims community.

“If you come to my office what you will see is all good scriptures, including the Quran,” said O’Donoghue. “I believe that together our differences are not that different.”

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