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NYPD’s decision to allow Sikh, Muslim officers to grow beards applauded

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CAIR-NY also commends arrest of a suspect in a hate crime.

AB Wire

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) has applauded the New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) decision to allow Muslim and Sikh officers to grow out their beards and wear turbans while in uniform.

Under the new policy announced, officers will be able to grow beards that extend up to half an inch from the face, and may also wear a blue turban with a hat shield. Previously, officers with a medical or religious accommodation were only permitted to grow a beard up to one millimeter in length.

“We applaud this long-overdue step to make sure the NYPD better reflects our city’s diverse communities,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, in a statement.  “We are particularly grateful to the work of Public Advocate Letitia James in advocating for Muslim officers who were previously asked to choose between public service and their faith.”

CAIR-NY also welcomed the arrest of a suspect in an anti-Muslim attack on an Uber driver in Long Island. The victim was allegedly attacked late last month after picking up three customers in Melville, Long Island. Following intervention from CAIR-NY, Nassau County Police expanded their investigation, reclassifying the November attack as a hate crime.

In the attack, a passenger first asked the driver if he was Muslim before repeatedly punching him, splattering the inside of his car with blood.

Nassau County Police arrested one suspect on charges of assault in the third degree as a hate crime and harassment, on Wednesday.  Assault in the third degree as a hate crime is a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

“We are grateful to the Nassau County Police Department for its diligence in this case,” said CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Fox Cahn. “This arrest shows that every hate crime in New York State will be treated as a very serious offense.”