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The New Arab

US appoints its first ever Turkish-American police chief

He prayed with the audience [Andolu Agency screengrab]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2020

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A Turkish-American man who moved to America when he was an infant has become the first Muslim in the country to be appointed as a police chief.
A Turkish-American police officer has made history after he was appointed the first Muslim police chief of a US city.

The city of Paterson, New Jersey appointed Ibrahim 'Mike' Baycora in a historic ceremony that had him swear on the Quran instead of the Bible.

Baycora is the 17th police chief and has been working at the city’s police department for more than three decades.

He will be the first chief who is a Muslim.

Baycora moved to the US as a child and grew up there.
The ceremony was otherwise traditional in its conception and began with the national anthem, and the representatives from the Turkish community in New York and New Jersey were in attendance, along with officials from Paterson’s government.

Speaking at the ceremony, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh used an Arabic greeting for hello, and used Turkish phrases to address the audience.

He said Baycora, 60, "will be the first Turkish police chief in the history of the United States of America. He will be the first Muslim police chief in the city of Paterson.

When it was Baycora's turn, he talked about pride for his Turkish heritage.

"Paterson has been in my blood my whole life, and now to be its police chief after a 32-year career - what an honour."

An imam was invited to the ceremony, and Baycora joined the audience in praying.

Speaking to Turkish media Andolu Agency following the ceremony, he said.

"I am so happy. In this country, there is opportunity, It does not matter where you come from."

Muslim representation in America has increased in the past two years. In November 2018 four Arab Americans were elected to the US House of Representatives and two of them are Muslims.

The women, who made history in the country, are Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Donna Shalala, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Tlaib and Omar are he first Muslim women in Congress.

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