Brighton Mosque Hosts Cops For Ramadan Meal

Brighton Mosque Hosts Cops For Ramadan Meal
Police officers participated in an iftar dinner at the  Turkish American Eyüp Sultan Cultural Center. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)
Police officers participated in an iftar dinner at the Turkish American Eyüp Sultan Cultural Center. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

A Brighton Beach mosque welcomed more than a dozen police officers, including NYPD Deputy Chief Charles Scholl, Thursday night to break bread during the holy month of Ramadan.

“It’s always an honor to be invited by a religious group to share in the celebration of a holiday,” said Chief Scholl. “Coming to an event like this is a goodwill gesture. It’s also educational for us to learn about cultural traditions.”

The Turkish American Eyüp Sultan Cultural Center, near the corner of Brighton 3rd Street and Shore Parkway, hosts nightly iftar dinners during Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The food — chicken, rice and soup — was prepared in the mosque’s kitchen and served after a prayer.

Many of the police officers in attendance were members of the Mid East and Turkic Society (M.E.T.S.), a law enforcement group founded last year. NYPD Sergeant Nara Ahmed said they wanted a group that brings together officers with Middle Eastern or Turkish backgrounds.

“The NYPD has over 30 fraternal organizations, but there wasn’t one that recognizes the Middle East or Turkish regions,” she said. “There are Muslim organizations, but this is transcends religion and recognizes our shared culture.”

Police officers and members of the mosque standing together after the meal. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)
Police officers and members of the mosque standing together after the meal. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Chief Scholl said participating in religious events, like iftar, help law enforcement officers be more culturally sensitive.

“If some one is arrested and didn’t eat all day because it’s Ramadan, we can try and make an accommodation. Otherwise, he might sit there for hours without being fed,” said Scholl.

The chief explained the NYPD is rapidly becoming more diverse to reflect the changing demographics of the city. He said there are currently more than 900 Muslims serving in the NYPD. The last academy class graduated 632 new officers from 38 different countries that speak 22 different languages, he said.

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