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Chief Constable opens Ramadhan fast during interfaith gathering

Chief Constable Simon Edens joined community members from across Northamptonshire to open the Muslim fast, during an Iftar dinner organised to increase community cohesion.

Ahead of the meal, attendees listened to speakers talk about improving dialogue and engaging in meaningful, social interactions between communities.

The Iftar – the name given to the evening meal when Muslims open their fast –was also attended by Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, Mayor of Northampton Tony Ansell and Reverend Paul Lavender of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

The successful event saw more than 100 people of different faiths and none came together as a community to better understand each other.

Chief Constable Simon Edens, said: “As retirement approaches, you look back on memories, and there are some really pleasant surprises. One of those surprises for me was the strength and cohesion here. The sense of togetherness. It is a much more diverse county than I thought.”

Speaking on the importance of dialogue, he said: “Dialogue is something we use to prevent things from escalating. Dialogue is an important tactic. But it is more than just a tactic. You can’t just engage in dialogue and then set it aside. That’s not how we operate in Northamptonshire.

“Together with my senior colleagues, one of the things I’m proud about is implementing a new policing model. Making sure that neighbourhood policing is at the heart of policing. Getting resources into working with communities. Listening to people’s concerns and responding to those concerns.”

Mr Kerim Balci, from the Dialogue Society, said: “How is Ramadhan contributing to community cohesion? Ramadhan is a time of empathy, of sympathy for the less affluent. It’s about the sense of community about the feeling of belonging. It’s about giving charity and abstaining from quarrels.

“Ramadhan is about patience. It’s about an ideal for Muslims and communities. These shared experiences create a common shared vision. You are all a part of the solution.”

Sophia Perveen, Chair of the Northamptonshire Association of Muslim Police, said: “Ramadhan is about so much more than just fasting. Events like this are so important because they help break down barriers and improve understanding amongst communities, and when there is better understanding there is better cohesion.”

Now in its third year, the well-attended event was organised by the Northamptonshire Association of Muslim Police, in conjunction with the charity, Dialogue Society.

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