28/02/2011

Muslims Get Special Policing Focus

The issues that impact on the delivery of the policing service in NI and how best they can meet the needs of the Muslim community were in focus recently.

Members of the NI Policing Board met with the Muslim community as part of a series of meetings with minority ethnic communities.

This is part of its work to encourage partnership between communities and the police so that policing is delivered most effectively.

Speaking about the meeting which was held in English, Arabic and Urdu, Chair of the Board's Community Engagement Committee Alex Maskey MLA said: "Through the work of the Board's Community Engagement Committee, we have been building relationships with key groups and individuals to encourage co-operation between the police and the community.

"Our job is to listen to what the community wants from their police service and meetings with minority ethnic groups provide the Board with the opportunity to do just that," said the Sinn Fein MLA.

"We recognise and accept our responsibility to reach out and engage with people from all backgrounds and do what we can to help raise public confidence in policing, reduce crime and build a safer society for everyone.

"We had some really helpful interaction with the Muslim community at this event and the issues raised will be considered when we hold the PSNI to account for the service they deliver to this community," he concluded.
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Responding, the Chairperson of Belfast's Islamic Centre, Mohey Ismail said: "On behalf of the Muslim community in Northern Ireland, I would like to extend my thanks to the Policing Board for making this consultation possible.

"I believe that working together as a multi-cultural society is mandatory to make life safer for all of us and is what we all desire. We are happy to work with the Board to achieve this," he said.

In other community relations' news, the Alliance East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle has welcomed the first workshop of a new project that will help Glentoran Football Club promote improved community relations.

While primarily aimed at bridging the Catholic/Protestant NI religious divide, it will also provide cultural and educational opportunities through football in east Belfast for all communities.

He said the Club has appointed a dedicated Community Relations Officer to lead the delivery of this project.

"The Glentoran Partnership is an exciting development and shows how seriously the club takes the need for a shared and prosperous east Belfast.

"Glentoran has had the vision to develop working relationships with other flagship community-based football clubs like Charlton Athletic who are using their facilities and their sport to promote social inclusion and deliver education and employment opportunities in their local community," he said.

"As a fan and public representative, I will give my full support to the club to find ways in which it can partner with government to make Glentoran an inclusive and community based club for many years to come," he said.

(BMcC/GK)

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