Members of the Las Vegas Muslim community broke their fast, prayed and shared a meal with law enforcement on Wednesday night for Laylat al-Qadr.
Laylat al-Qadr, “Night of Power,” is the night Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad first received the revelation of the Quran from God. It occurs on one of the nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan.
Guests gathered inside the Metropolitan Police Department’s Summerlin Area Command station and at 7:24 p.m. broke the Ramadan fast with dates, water and soup. The group then went inside a community room to pray. The evening concluded with a larger meal.
Rokai Yusufzai is the community affairs liaison for the Las Vegas Afghan and Muslim community and helped organize the event.
His eyes grew wide as he described his emotions when he walked into the station to see everyone gathered together.
“To be able to pull the Sin City together for something like this. This is extravagant,” Yusufzai said.
He said fasting during the month of Ramadan not only holds spiritual significance but also allows Muslims to feel how those who are less fortunate live.
Shamsuddin Waheed is the Imam at Masjid Ibrahim Mosque located on North Jones Boulevard. He explained that on Laylat al-Qadr people seek out a spiritual experience through prayer and reading the Qaran, and also commit to giving up a bad habit.
“It’s a spiritual experience, which can have profound implications in real life,” Waheed said.
Mohamed Lunat and his wife Sumaiyah Patel sat at one the tables eating the dinner after participating in prayers. Lunat is the Imam at the Masjid Al-Noor Mosque on East Russell Road.
Lunat said he enjoyed meeting other members of the faith and participating in an event in the community.
“I think it’s an opportunity for us to have this communication with them and a relationship the police department,” Patel said.
Mujahid Ramadan is part of Metro’s multi-cultural advisory council and helped plan the event. He said the department has a desire to understand all the diverse populations in Las Vegas, and that events like the Laylat al-Qadr help build trust between communities and law enforcement.
“You can feel there’s an energy here,” Metro Capt. Dave Sims said. “I think we’re actually seeing the benefit when you break down those barriers.”
He said one of those barriers is that people may have come to Las Vegas from a country where they were not comfortable with law enforcement.
Sims said Metro has attended Night of Power events at local mosques, but said it was intentional to “open the doors to a police station” this year to be more welcoming to the Muslim community.
“When people are spiritually connected regardless of their faith, when they come together and they pray it’s just amazing,” Yusufzai said.
Contact David Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.