Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly welcomed approximately 400 people to the Police Department’s pre-Ramadan conference Wednesday at Police Headquarters, an annual event for community members and police about the coming Muslim religious observance. Imam Mohamed Shamsi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York delivered the opening and closing prayers.
“New York is a city built on religious tolerance. Respecting each other's faiths - and recognizing what we all have in common - are key to what makes this the world's most diverse and welcoming city,” said Mayor Bloomberg. "Despite the incredible progress we've made in recent years in stamping out bigotry and racism, hate-based acts of vandalism and other outrages still occasionally occur. And last week's terrible events in Norway remind us that there will always be extremists, and that some of them harbor violent fantasies. So we cannot drop our guard, we will not drop our guard and the NYPD never does. We want all followers of Islam in the city to have a safe Ramadan and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that."
“The terrorist attacks in Norway last week were another reminder of the threat posed by intolerance and extremism,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Although we know of no plans against the Muslim community in New York, we’ll take whatever steps necessary to ensure a safe and peaceful Ramadan for every worshipper.”
Immediately following the July 22 car bomb attack in Oslo and subsequent shooting spree on Utoya Island, the Police Department heightened patrols around Scandinavian consulates and major government buildings in all five boroughs. In addition, a detective with the NYPD overseas liaison program was dispatched from London to Oslo to gather information.
During Ramadan the Department increases foot posts around mosques and assigns patrol cars to houses of worship and select areas, as well as deploys additional anti-crime officers to deter burglaries. In addition, NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force officers visit mosques to facilitate reporting of possible bias incidents and to provide hate crime awareness training.
Members of the NYPD Youth Cricket League, including the Brooklyn-based Pak Stallions who on Tuesday won the league championship, were recognized at Wednesday’s event, along with members of the Muslim Officers Society, a fraternal organization established in 2008.
Since 2002, the NYPD has distributed guidelines to commanders which overview the observance period and provide precinct personnel with detailed information on prayers and other activity during Ramadan.