IN an admirable gesture, the Surrey RCMP on Monday evening celebrated Ramadan with the Muslim community by hosting its first Iftar dinner at the main detachment.

During the month of Ramadan, many Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset. The evening ritual of breaking fast is traditionally done with dates and fruits, followed by prayer and a larger meal prior to the last prayer of the day.

With the guidance of Sikandar Hayat of the British Columbia Muslim Association (BCMA), the Surrey RCMP’s Diversity Unit arranged an appropriate space within the detachment for the breaking of the fast and evening prayers. Following these rituals, approximately 80 Muslims and 20 police officers shared a meal together.

An Iftar dinner is traditionally a time when the community comes together and the Surrey RCMP say they were happy to be an extension of that community. The evening also provided an important opportunity for the Surrey RCMP to learn more about the Muslim faith and strengthen relationships with the community.

“The Surrey RCMP values the Muslim community and we are committed to continuing to build our relationship with diverse groups within our city,” says Superintendent Maxine Schwartz, who welcomed the guests to the Iftar dinner.

“This is the first time ever in Surrey that all the mosques and their representatives were able to get together under one roof and we thank the Surrey RCMP for providing this platform,” says Hayat.

The event was well received with attendance from 25 Islamic centres and agencies.

The Surrey RCMP Diversity Unit helps develop partnerships and identify issues and trends that are important to the city’s diverse communities. They work closely with community groups and agencies to break down barriers and build trust and understanding about the role of police in Canada.

For more information on the Surrey RCMP’s Diversity Unit, visit the Surrey RCMP website.