Below are categories for questions that have been answered by community members. Keep in mind that the following responses may represent many members of this group but do not represent all people in a community. Not all people from diverse populations conform to commonly known culture-specific behaviors, beliefs and actions. Each person is an individual, as well as a community member.
What cultural / ethnic / religious traditions or beliefs should law enforcement be aware of?
- Islam is a monotheistic Abrahamic faith/religion, and its followers are called Muslims.
- Within the Muslim community, there are several ethnic groups and cultures: Arabs, African American, Southeast Asian, Kurds, Somali, etc.
- Muslims pray five times a day and must attend an obligatory prayer at their local mosque every Friday. This mid-day prayer is very important; there may be a large crowd going in and out of mosques during this time.
- Muslims emphasize respect for the law of the land.
- Modesty is an important aspect of the Islamic faith. As such, Muslim women cover their bodies and wear a headscarf to cover their hair. Muslim men cover their bodies and often wear a head cap (kufi) and a beard.
What is the appropriate manner to greet you? (demeanor, non-verbal, body space, handshake, bow, male-female interaction etc.)
- Peaceful greeting is very important (verbal, engage in open communication): "Salaam" or any common form of greeting such as "Hello" "Good morning" etc.
- Be mindful of personal space. Physical contact such as a handshake with opposite gender is discouraged.
- Muslims typically avoid direct eye contact and may gaze downward when talking. It can be seen as disrespectful to speak to someone while making eye contact.
- Most households do not wear shoes within the home. Wear footies or shoe covering prior to entering the home, if available or provided.
- If possible, a same gender officer should interact with family members and/or suspects.
Who should be addressed or acknowledged first? Who is the head of the household?
- The eldest male is considered the head of the household. Typically, a male will answer the door. The head of household may ask his wife or his daughters to cover and put on their full dress and hijab.
- If only women are at home, it is important to give them sufficient time to cover.
- Dress code: Mandatory hijab for women vs. optional kufi for men (man may remove from his head).
- Some Muslim cultures feel extreme discomfort around dogs and may not appreciate them entering their homes.
What is your view / perception of law enforcement? What has been your community's experience with law enforcement?
- Many Muslim immigrants tend to have trust issues with authority because of past traumas living in police states where they experienced religious/cultural persecution. Living in America, they are sometimes still scared, fearful, and paranoid because they have only known authorities to be abusive and corrupt.
- Post 9/11, many Muslims feel they are unfairly targeted or profiled by law enforcement due to religious and racial biases.
- Muslims often feel that there is not enough Muslim representation in law enforcement.