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LAPD Names First Islamic Chaplain

June 29, 2009  | 

American Muslims have never been much of a presence in the Los Angeles Police Department, accounting for less than 1% of its nearly 10,000 officers.

But now, with department leaders eager to improve relationships with local Muslims, top brass have named the force's first Islamic chaplain: a Pakistani-born spiritual leader who has spent much of the last decade trying to build bridges between law enforcement and Los Angeles County's diverse Muslim communities, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sheik Qazi Asad, 47, will serve as a reserve chaplain at the LAPD's North Hollywood station. The volunteer post requires about eight hours of service each month. But to Asad and his LAPD patrons, it represents an opportunity to expose officers to a culture and faith that many may find unfamiliar, even foreign.

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