Tuesday, June 14, 2016

USA: No room in religion for violence or hate carried out in Orlando, say local Muslims | Video


"Islam teaches us to be humane and kind to everybody -- every life is valued equally. There's no room for this in the teachings of Islam for what this individual carried out."

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: FOX 6 NOW News
By Theo Keith | JUNE 12, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee-area Muslims held a prayer Sunday evening for the victims of a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida and condemned the shooter's actions.

At least 50 people lost their lives and another 53 people were hurt in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday, June 12. It is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The shooter, Omar Mateen, was Muslim and pledged to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack, although details are still emerging about his ties to the terror group. Local Muslims say there is no room in their religion for violence or hate.

"Islam teaches us to be humane and kind to everybody -- every life is valued equally. There's no room for this in the teachings of Islam for what this individual carried out," Rizwan Ahmad with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said.

The 29-year-old, who died in a shootout with police, lived in Fort Pierce, Florida. Bomb squad teams, FBI agents and police combed his apartment there for hours on Sunday. Investigators haven't revealed what they found.

About 25 Muslims held a vigil at a mosque on Milwaukee's north side Sunday prior to their Ramadan prayers.

They said Mateen's apparent tie to ISIS was not an indictment of their faith.

"It is very frustrating," Ahmad said. "The same propaganda that ISIS uses for its recruitment is the same propaganda a lot of the anti-Islamic Islamophobes use as well. They cite the same verses of the Quran, which they are taking out of context for their own political agenda."

Citing information from law enforcement officials, Ahmad said the shooter's history of mental illness was the root cause of the violence.

The mass shooting in Orlando brought back memories of the 2012 shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, an act of violence deemed both a mass shooting and a hate crime. Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist, killed six people at the temple.

Local Sikhs said the latest mass shooting troubled them.

"It's almost like Groundhog's Day," said Amar Kaleka, whose father -- the temple's founder -- died in the 2012 shooting. "You just keep dealing with these challenges from the past."

Sikhs are not Muslims, but the groups are often confused in the U.S. because the men wear turbans and women wear headdresses.

Kaleka has since becoming an advocate for gun control, including background checks for all gun purchases. He said the 2012 incident taught him that violence can happen to anyone.

"I think we ourselves, the people, need to be more vigilant," Kaleka said. "That doesn't mean strapping up and getting an open access to firearms license. That means looking out for each other, having each others' back."

Ahmad said Ahmadiyya Muslims feel a responsibility to teach others about the meaning of their religion.

"As Muslims, we do feel a responsibility to help prevent other Muslims from becoming radicalized because, at the end of the day, when somebody with a Muslim name does something -- regardless if they did it in the name of Islam or not -- society tends to link it back to Islam," Ahmad said.






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