Community Stakeholders Agree to Collaborate, Work in Partnership

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 22, 2011 — Facilitated by state Senator Anthony H. Williams, police and members of the Muslim community recently came together to work toward easing tensions after a West Philadelphia man, later identified as a Muslim, was critically wounded by police in November.

One of Williams’ top priorities is liberating neighborhoods from violence and improving the quality of life for its residents. In that regard, Williams has organized several meetings between the communities and police within the 8th Senatorial District.

“It is unacceptable for people to live in fear because of violence on our streets,” said Williams. “We have to find ways for the police and the community to work cooperatively toward the single goal of making our neighborhoods safe, whether it is through Town Watches, civic associations, or ongoing community meetings.”

Community leaders sought the senator’s assistance to mend the cultural divide that appears to exist between the Muslim community and police. During the meeting, held on Dec. 14, Capt. David Bellamy offered to provide sensitivity training to the officers of the 18th Police District with the assistance and support of Muslim leaders. Imam Asim Abdul-Rashid, Amir of the Majlis Ash-Shura of Philadelphia and The Delaware Valley, a consultative body of Muslim leaders, and Imam Abu Mashkuwr N. AbdulKhabiyr of the Al-Mateen Islamic Center offered their organizations’ help with the training and to work collaboratively to alleviate concerns within the Muslim community and to build positive partnerships moving forward.

“It was an honor to help organize these meetings between our city’s finest and leaders of the Muslim community, with a goal of working toward reconciliation, trust and respect by and for all involved,” Williams said.  “Our city thrives on its diversity, so it is critical to understand the different cultures that converge, while maintaining the safety of residents and allowing the police to effectively protect us.”

The community meetings and the successful gun buy back events, resulting from his successful “Neighborhood to Neighborhood (N2N) 2011 Summer of Peace initiative, are examples of ongoing efforts by Williams to forge partnerships between the police and residents of the 8th Senatorial District.

“Fostering an ongoing dialogue among the police and the communities they serve will empower us to take back our streets and reduce violence in all of our neighborhoods,” said Williams.