When the 20th annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement met in Rehoboth Beach a couple of weeks ago, some two hundred officers learned about Islam from Sarah Elshazly, a division chief in the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. They got quite an earful, writes Jim Westhoff of the Cape Gazette. On the one hand, she fed them some astonishing stereotypes:
Elshazly said if officers come to a Muslim's home, the Muslim will try to feed them. "You have to say yes," she said. "If you say no, it is a great insult - you are telling them that you don't think they are clean enough or that they are not a good cook." Consequently, officers should be suspicious if they enter a Muslim's home and they are not offered food. "All Muslims cook, even the men, so if there is not the smell of cooking and spices, that house is probably not being used a residence," she said. …
She also said that unlike in Western culture, when police expect that honest people will look them straight in the eye, most Muslims believe it is impolite to look at an authority figure in the eyes.
But more worrisome were her apologetics for Muslim misbehavior:
Muslims work very hard at politeness, so they may say yes to a police officer if they feel that the officer wants a yes answer, she said. "You may be lied to if you ask a yes or no question. So, always ask open-ended questions. Then be patient because Muslims love to talk, but they will eventually get around to the answer you were looking for," she said. …
Elshazly explained how young men are recruited to fight for Islamic extremists. In their world, the class system is so rigid, no matter what a person achieves on his own, he will still be considered below others, she said. If a person is from a low class, he is told his whole life he will never amount to anything. Then one day, a wealthy person tells him he will achieve a high level in heaven if he fights for God. "How hard is it to sell that?" she asked.
Comment: I am concerned that a state official speaks this way to police officers. (May 15, 2006)