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North Hempstead board votes to add Islamic leader to ethics panel

Dr. Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center

Dr. Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, said government employees must meet and adhere to high ethical standards. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The North Hempstead town board voted unanimously 7-0 at a meeting Tuesday night to appoint Dr. Isma Chaudhry, the first female president of Westbury’s Islamic Center of Long Island, to its Board of Ethics.

Chaudhry raises the board’s membership from five to six residents. She is the first person to be appointed to the board following a series of reforms to the town’s ethics code earlier this year.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said that Chaudhry, 57, a Manhasset resident, would be a “valuable addition” to the committee.

“She is an interfaith activist and strongly believes in building bridges of interfaith harmony, and dispelling myths and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims,” Bosworth said.

Chaudhry will join a group of distinguished residents, including Richard Kestenbaum, the Great Neck Plaza acting village justice, and Temple Emanuel’s Rabbi Robert Widom, among others.

In February, a number of changes were made to the board’s operations. The roster was increased to seven members, and term limits were cut from six to four years. Political party members also were barred from serving on the board. Appointments must be reviewed by town council members.

The board has many duties, including reviewing annual financial disclosure statements, issuing advisory opinions, and advising local agencies. The board dates back to 1963, according to town spokeswoman Carole Trottere.

Chaudhry said Tuesday she was honored to be considered and that she firmly believed “there should be a morally ethically equal playing field for everyone.”

Government employees have to walk a “tight rope” to meet high ethical standards, Chaudhry said. “There should absolutely be no compromise on upholding these values,” she added,

One vacancy on the board remains, after a member left last year. The board is now discussing potential candidates, Trottere said.


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