Mosque Imam becomes front-line police officer tackling knife crime
A Muslim leader is believed to be the first Imam to quit his full-time job at a UK mosque and become a front-line police officer.
PC Emad Choudhury, 29, has joined West Midlands Police, where he hopes to assist the force in reaching out to Islamic teenagers and inspire other Muslims to follow in his footsteps.
He previously spent five years at the Bahu Trust mosque in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, before becoming a student officer in 2018. He then completed response shifts with the Edgbaston neighbourhood team before being assigned to the Project Guardian unit, which is tasked with tackling knife crime and youth violence.
Emad still continues to deliver Friday prayers at Bahu Trust, stating that juggling religious and policing duties has so-far been easier than he imagined.
He said: ‘I thought it would be harder to be who I am. I pray five times a day, at specific times, and was worried it would be difficult for the force to accommodate. In reality it’s been quite simple and my Inspector understands there are brief moments in the day when I need to pause.
‘There is a designated Prayer Room but to be honest I would be happy to whip out a prayer mat at the side of the road while on an operation if I needed to. Though that’s never needed to happen.
‘I’ve had a bit of banter from people I know in my community at me becoming a police officer but no aggression. No-one suggesting I’m a traitor or a sell-out.
‘People I speak to are intrigued; they want to know what I’ve been doing. Two people I know have now applied to be police officers.’
Earlier this year Emad and the Bahu Trust won a United Nations Safer Cities Award for a video they made telling the story of two Muslim mothers affected by knife crime – one whose son was the victim and the other the parent of the killer.
He says educating people about knife crime is something he is ‘really passionate about’. He continued: ‘Too many children, including some from my home in Sparkbrook, are being killed and lives ruined through knife crime.
‘I know these communities, I live here and I know how it works. I’m trying to use my access to people here to prevent more lost lives and heartache.’
He is now working on another video to be shown in mosques and schools which tells the story of two friends who grow apart when one is groomed by a gang to deal drugs.
Kamran Shezad, from the Bahu Trust, said: ‘Emad has helped deliver our work on violent crime from a faith perspective. It’s changed the lives of many young people in east Birmingham; it’s good to see West Midlands Police recognises the unique position of influence Emad holds in the community he was born in and understands so well.
‘Using both his Imam and police hat, he is able to represent the police to the community and the community to the police.’
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