Garda Sudita Zalli.
You know you’re getting old when the Guards seem to be much younger than you. On Thursday I got that feeling when I met Garda Sudita Zalli who is a member of the Community policing section based at Drogheda Garda Station.
I’m too polite to ask her age but Garda Zalli is a charming young woman and the first female Muslim member of An Garda Siochana and she has been on the beat in Drogheda for the past three years.
Because she is of the Muslim faith, she was the obvious choice to become the liaison person between the local Gardaí and the Muslim community in the Drogheda area.
On Thursday she and several colleagues from Drogheda Garda station called in to the Drogheda Mosque in Windmill Road bearing gifts in celebration of the Eid ul Fitra festival which marks the end of the fasting for the month of Ramadan.
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Eid ul Fitra is one of the biggest festivals in the Muslim calendar and Sudita likened it to Christmas in the Christian faith.
“It marks the end of fasting from dawn until dusk during Ramadan and it is a time of festivities and giving gifts, especially to children and to people who are less well off” she said.
Sudita, who is originally from Albania but has lived in Ireland for the past 18 years, says that part of her role as a Community Garda is to help break down barriers and create channels of communication within the Muslim and local communities.
She said that her colleagues and superiors in Drogheda Garda station have been very supportive and respectful of her religion and have gladly swapped shifts around so that she could attend to religious devotions, especially during Ramadan.
This article was written by Andy Spearman
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