UNION, NJ – Guest speakers, including state, county and local representatives, delivered messages of community at Friday’s prayer service at the Islamic Center of Union County in Union.

“We understand that we live in uncertain and stressful times,” said Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan.  “Some of the messages out there are not those of inclusion; messages that could potentially divide us if we chose to allow it.  All of us here want to send a message to you of inclusion.”

“We were partners yesterday, we’re partners today, and we’ll be partners tomorrow,” concluded Cryan.

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“As a former mayor and now your state representative,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley, “I’ve represented people of many, many different cultures.  Today we come here to let you know that we stand in solidarity with you and that no man, not one man in this country, will be able to tell us at the local and state level what we can do with our fellow brothers.”

Reverend Richard Starling of the Christ Community Church in Union spoke to the members about getting involved in the community, through the Recreation Department, sports teams or the public schools. “We need to fellowship and spend time together to get to know each other,” said Starling. “I want to get to know you.  I want you to get to know me. We are partners.”

Union Police Officers Anthony Cavallo and Mike Boll were also present. Boll, a veteran, spoke of his time in Saudi Arabia. “There is no hostility from the troops against the Muslim community,” said Boll. “That is a falsehood.  Our troops that become police officers know the culture and have lasting friendships."  Boll added, "please don’t be afraid to speak to the police in Union.  We welcome it.”

Reverend Starling recounted a comment from a woman leaving the prayer service: “What was said in here today needs to be heard all around the world.”

Editor's Note:  In the interest of transparency, TAPinto Union's franchisee/owner/publisher, Kathy Cryan, is married to Sheriff Joe Cryan