By Nidah Chatriwala, TMO
7th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner at Hilton in Mesa, Ariz.
On June 14, the Arizona Muslim Police Advisory Board (AMPAB) organized its seventh annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner where local Muslims and law enforcement and government officials were recognized for promoting unity and dialogue in the community.
AMPAB was founded by Mohamed El-Sharkawy shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The mission of this organization is to foster relations between Muslims and law enforcement in Arizona. Today, the organization has board members and mediators serving from all religious backgrounds and police officials from throughout the state.
This year, the honorable event was held at Hilton in the city of Mesa. Every chair in the event hall was filled with Arizona community members and government servants. The event began with Quran recitation by Dr. Alhadiri followed by the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance by State Senator, Adam Driggs.
Though it was an appreciation dinner, this event was also used as a platform to educate the audience on the importance and rituals of Ramadan. As Imam Ahmad Shqeirat concluded his presentation, â€œRamadan Kareemâ€ echoed in the room followed by maghrib prayer during which fellow non-Muslim leaders respectfully observed Muslims offering prayer from a distance.
Soon after, dinner was served with a series of motivational speeches starting with Mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton.
â€œEveryone in this room knows that when there is lack of safety anywhere in the world, it can affect us here locally,â€ Stanton said. â€œThatâ€™s why this organization was formed with leadership of Muslim community coming together in full partnership with law enforcement to do all we can to prevent violence with citizens here locally while providing information thatâ€™s necessary, and to bring peace and safety; therefore, freedom to our people here.â€
Stanton went on to reassure the audience about AMPABâ€™s goal to prevent crimes against Muslim community in Arizona. â€œThis organization will prevent violence against members of the Muslim community and others with various law enforcement and solve crimes as quickly as possible, and it has to be done multi-jurisdictionally.â€
Nods from the audience seemed to express agreement with Stantonâ€™s speech. The next presentation was given by Imam Sabahodin, who surprised the audience by showing similarities between the US Constitution and Sharia Law.
According to Imam Sabahodin, Sharia Law and the US Constitution both contain guidelines to protect civil liberties and encourage a system based purely on justice.
The last powerful speech of the night, however, left audience members with goosebumps as former mayor of Mesa, Scott Smith, shared how differences and unique similarities connects people to each other defining unity in the community.
Soon after, the event came to a close and the audience exited the hall with an uplifted sense of duty for their community.