AUDIO: Listen to excerpts from the conference here
Approximately 400 people attended the New York City Police Department’s pre-Ramadan conference Tuesday at Police Headquarters, an annual event for community members and police about the coming Muslim religious observance.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly presided over the conference, which included members of the Department’s youth cricket league and NYPD Muslim Officers Society.
“For the first time in the history of the Department, the rank of police officer is majority-minority and we are proud to have police officers from around the world,” Commissioner Kelly said. “We pursue diversity because it makes us a better, stronger, fairer police department – one that works successfully with the community to fight crime.
“New York, the nation’s most diverse city, is also the safest -- crime is down again so far this year, by 36% compared to 2001. By joining in this mission, we can make New York even safer, and we can strengthen the spirit of understanding and respect that makes the city such a unique place. On behalf of the Police Department, I wish all of you a safe, blessed Ramadan.”
During Ramadan the Department will increase foot posts around mosques, assign patrol cars to houses of worship and select areas, and deploy additional plainclothes anti-crime units to deter burglaries. In addition, the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force will visit mosques and sites where future mosques are proposed. Members of the Task Force also will continue regular hate-crime awareness training throughout the city.
The Commanding Officer of the Hate Crimes Task Force, Inspector Michael Osgood, presented examples of hate crimes committed this year against Muslims which detectives have been able to solve, including assaults in Queens and Brooklyn which resulted in the arrests of a man from Suffolk County and a youth in Brooklyn, respectively, as well as that of a man from Florida who had placed Korans in a public toilet in Manhattan. Year to date, there have been a total of nine anti-Muslim hate crimes citywide.
Imam Shamsi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York delivered the opening and closing prayers.
Since 2002, the NYPD has distributed guidelines to commanders which overview the observance period, and promote educating precinct personnel on prayers and other activity during Ramadan, including direct contact and visitation with local mosques. The Commanders’ Ramadan Guidelines summarize key principles of Islam and associated practices, and are provided in addition to cultural awareness training seminars provided to all police officers at the Police Academy.
The NYPD in 2008 established youth cricket and soccer leagues to reach out to South Asian youth who tended not to participate in more traditional after-school and summer sports programs. More information on these programs can be found at