Bergen County steps up security ahead of Muslim holiday of Ramadan

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Muslims around the world will soon begin to observe the holiday of Ramadan.

Law enforcement officials in Bergen County say that they are not taking any chances after recent attacks at mosques, churches and synagogues around the world. The officials say that they will be increasing security – just as they did at Easter and Passover.

The Bergen County Sheriff's Office held a gathering Tuesday with the county executive, prosecutor, other law enforcement members and members of the Muslim community to educate police about Ramadan and to educate religious leaders about the resources available to make keep them safe.

“We at the sheriff's office don't just want people on street to be safe - but also at the houses of worship - churches, temples, synagogues and mosques,” says Mohammed Ibn Ahmed, chaplain at the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and Bergen County Jail.

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The meeting was partly in response to last weekend’s attack at the Chabad Synagogue in California and the mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand in March. Sheriff Anthony Cureton says that public safety and religious communities have to work together.

“We've been more proactive in religious communities. If you don't see it you wouldn't know - but we have more additional patrols supporting municipalities and checking on religious institutions,” the sheriff says.

Religious leaders on hand were reminded to be vigilant as well.

“We go to baseline – ‘See something, say something.’ And be cognizant of going into your religious institution. If you see something that doesn’t belong in an area, or a door unlocked, take extra initiative and give us a call.

The prosecutor’s office also offered security surveys for houses of worship to offer advice on how to better protect and secure themselves and their property.

Ramadan begins Sunday, May 5.

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