Delaware Women Police Officers Learn About Islamic Culture

May 15, 2006

Source: Cape Gazette

On May 15, 2006 the Cape Gazette reported, "The 20th annual conference of Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement met in Rehoboth Beach, Sunday, April 30, to Thursday, May 4, at the Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center. The officers learned about everything from media relations to surviving captivity. At a lunch program on Tuesday, Sarah Elshazly, a division chief in the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, gave some insight into her culture and religion to about 200 law enforcement officers in an effort to promote better communication with Muslims. Elshazly said if officers come to a Muslim's home, the Muslim will try to feed them. 'You have to say yes,' she said. 'If you say no, it is a great insult - you are telling them that you don't think they are clean enough or that they are not a good cook.' Consequently, officers should be suspicious if they enter a Muslim's home and they are not offered food. 'All Muslims cook, even the men, so if there is not the smell of cooking and spices, that house is probably not being used a residence,' she said. Muslims work very hard at politeness, so they may say yes to a police officer if they feel that the officer wants a yes answer, she said. 'You may be lied to if you ask a yes or no question. So, always ask open-ended questions. Then be patient because Muslims love to talk, but they will eventually get around to the answer you were looking for,' she said. She also said that unlike in Western culture, when police expect that honest people will look them straight in the eye, most Muslims believe it is impolite to look at an authority figure in the eyes."