Richland County Sheriff’s Department holds first ever Muslim Citizens Academy and graduation ceremony


The Richland County Sheriff’s Department held a graduation ceremony for its first ever Muslim Citizens Academy.

For four weeks, 36 Muslim citizens took part in classes learning about various aspects of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

All of the classes for the Muslim Citizens Academy were held at the Masjid Noor-Ul-Huda Mosque and were lead, in part, by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

The event was organized along with the Peace and Integration Council of North America.

According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, its goal is for the Citizens Academy to serve as a two-way cultural learning experience.

Talha Gill, program graduate, says the program helps bring understanding and communication between different groups of people.

“Being in the Columbia area, there’s not a lot of us Muslims. But we’re actually a diverse community. So building that communication is important. Let’s say you see a Muslim guy walking around or a Hispanic guy, you kind of know what their cultures are and how they — in general — what their communities’ about. Instead of ‘He’s just a Mexican,’ or ‘He’s just a Muslim, I don’t care.’ So understanding that communication helps you correspond — ‘Maybe he’s just praying.’ It’s not like ‘Oh my God, he’s scary, I’m gonna run away in the next direction,” says Gill.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has also held an African Citizens Academy and Hispanic Citizens Academy.

Categories: Local News, Richland