NY Muslims demand Islamic Chaplain for Fire Department
On Friday, April 20, the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), along with that city's Islamic Society of Fire Department Personnel (ISFDP) and the Vulcan Society will hold a news conference to demand that the FDNY appoint a Muslim chaplain.
Muslims in the Fire Department requested a Muslim chaplain more than three years ago and are seeking injunctive relief from the Eastern District Federal Court. The Fire Department currently employs three Catholic chaplains, two Protestant chaplains, and two Jewish chaplains.
CAIR-NY spokesman Kevin James, who is also president of the ISFDP, said the FDNY's reason for not hiring a Muslim chaplain because there are not enough Muslims in the department is contradicted by recently obtained information that the department keeps no such statistics.
James further stated that Commissioner Von Essen admitted to Muslim clergy last fall that there are probably not that many Jewish firefighters, and that one of the Jewish chaplains also administers to EMS personnel.
The Vulcan Society, which represents black firefighters, supports the demand for equal representation for Muslim firefighters.