Muslim Officer Builds Bridges in Houston

September 16, 2004

Source: Houston Chronicle

On September 16, 2004 Houston Chronicle reported, "like most Americans, Houston police officer Muzaffar Siddiqi was shaken to his core by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A Muslim who had fought crime and terror for years in his native Pakistan, Siddiqi understood the anger and grief that was now spreading throughout his new country. But he also understood the fear of being scapegoated that was coursing through Houston's large South Asian and Middle Eastern community. As HPD's liaison to those communities, which have an estimated combined population of 250,000, Siddiqi helped calm potential ethnic tensions in the wake of the terrorist attacks... But despite early apprehensions, Houston's Asian and Middle Eastern communities maintained their trust of law enforcement and sustained only a few incidents of vandalism and violence, Siddiqi said. He credited this to a good relationship HPD already had established with those communities. Because of Siddiqi's outreach efforts, many immigrants who traditionally were reluctant to talk to police have felt comfortable expressing their concerns and reporting crimes. Recently, such information helped lead to the arrest of an arsonist who set 15 house fires in southwest Houston's Hindu community."