Ramadan begins amidst security concerns

JERSEY CITY, NJ — Monday marks the first full day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and it comes at a tumultuous time with worshippers at mosques concerned for their safety.

The NYPD said it will step up patrols around city mosques. In Jersey City, mosques are setting up citizen patrol efforts. While most will pray and break the day-long fast each evening inside Jersey City’s Al-Tawheed Islamic Center, other volunteers will be outside on patrol.

“Some people by the parking lot, some people by the corner, some people by the door as people go out,” explained Kamel Haddouche, the mosque manager. “Besides that, we have of course working with local [law] enforcement.”

Ramadan comes amidst heightened tensions toward the Islamic community following the bombing of three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. More than 40 Islamic extremists have been arrested.

There is also a renewed conflict in the Middle East, with extremist elements in Gaza firing rockets into Israel. Israel has responded with airstrikes. Civilians on both sides have been killed. In March, the consecutive attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand claimed the lives of 51 Muslim worshipers.

Ramadan ends the evening of Tuesday, June 4.

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