Police will be ramping up protection around mosques next week as the holy month of Ramadan starts, and dozens of Muslim leaders met with police officials Wednesday to discuss local and international issues. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Muslim leaders shared praises and concerns about the New York City Police Department directly with police officials during a pre-Ramadan conference.
Some said they are eager to work with officers on crime and terrorism issues, but there were pleas for police to be sensitive and knowledgeable rather than aggressive when dealing with Muslims.
"There has to be properly education to some of the police officials," said Mustapha Senghor, chairman of the Harlem Islamic Cultural Center. "Not all the officials are like that, but there are police officials who actually enjoy confrontations."
With so many confrontations going on around the world, especially in Iraq, some Muslims told Police Commissioner William Bratton that they didn't want to be racially profiled because of the actions of others. Bratton pledged that he doesn't want that to happen either.
"That's why the importance of a meeting such as this to reinforce with the Muslim community of New York, which comes from all over the world, an extraordinarily diverse religion, that we are here for them, to work with them and to ensure their safety as well as the safety of every New Yorker.
While the commissioner was at police headquarters conference, his right-hand man, Deputy Commissioner John Miller, was in Washington at a congressional hearing. Miller testified that funding needs to continue for counterterrorism efforts in New York.
"When you see what's going on in Syria with highly organized and now well-funded insurgent groups that are recruiting foreign fighters by the thousands, and at any one time, there are likely to be about 100 of those from the United States, you have to ask yourself, 'When they come back, what kind of threat do they pose?'"
At this time, the NYPD said it is not aware of any direct threat or effort against the city, but counterterrorism officers are ready to jump into action if necessary.