Amina Sharif, CAIR-Chicago’s Communications Coordinator, presented on Islam and Muslims at the Tinley Park Police Department on November 30th. She was invited by Sergeant Jon Popp to conduct a cultural awareness seminar in light of the growing population of Muslims and Arabs in the area. Over 30 police officers attended the seminar. Many admitted to not knowing much about Islam and Muslim customs.
Sharif began by discussing basic Islamic terminology, beliefs, and Islam’s similarities and differences with other religions. She also explained the difference between being “Arab” and “Muslim”. Sharif then discussed various Arab and Muslim cultural practices that officers should be aware of and answered questions regarding best-practices for working with the Muslim residents of Tinley Park. She also shared useful resources including the contact information for local mosques and Muslim organizations as well as agencies that provide multilingual family counseling and women’s shelters.
“The seminar was a sincere effort on the part of the police department to sensitively and respectfully serve their Muslim constituents,” said Sharif. “I commend them for providing a high level of service and safety for the community,” she added.
Sharif’s presentation “was well received and very informative,” said Sergeant Popp, adding, “We are planning additional cultural diversity training and I hope that Amina will be available to come out and assist us again.”