Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, says Mufti Ikram ul Haq, the resident Imam of Masjid Al-Islam in North Smithfield, “has set an example for the rest of the country” in establishing an Muslim-American Advisory Board for the city by executive order.
According to the executive order, the advisory board “will serve to create a system that better serves and empowers the Muslim American community… help guide the mayor on policy decisions that affect Muslim Americans in Providence… [and] work to enhance the understanding of the religion of Islam, by encouraging dialog and promoting mutual understanding among religions.”
“Since the use of divisive language in the 2016 election, a rash of hate crimes, targeting minorities have inflamed community tensions,” said Elorza, speaking at Oasis International on Broad St. “According to the FBI, hate crimes nationally have increased against Muslim Americans by 67 percent since 2014.
“We cannot stand by while members of our community are bullied, targeted and scapegoated on the national stage,” said Elorza. The board was created to protect Rhode Island’s “founding principles of freedom and intolerance.”
Monsurat Ottun, who covers her head with a traditional scarf, was pleased by Elorza’s move. “Muslim women are easily identified,” said Ottun, “They walk the streets all the time by themselves…it’s so important to ensure the safety of Muslim women…
“I lived in this country my entire life and I’ve never felt unsafe until now.”
“Let me tell you what we’re doing in Providence,” said Elorza, “We care coming out aggressively for all our people.”
Those interested in applying for one of the five positions on the board, which will meet at least twice a year, should send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.