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Tucson Muslims react to New Zealand attacks

Raised security at Islamic Center of Tucson
Posted at 6:36 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 21:36:18-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - The attacks in New Zealand were on the minds of Tucson Muslims -- as they gathered for prayer at Tucson's Islamic Center.

Muslims here are thinking about the nature of hate---and forgiveness.

As Muslims came for Friday prayers, Police were on watch outside the Islamic Center of Tucson, scanning for any sign of danger.

Friday's noon prayers are the largest gathering of the week. As the congregation performed its devotions they could reflect on the killing half a world away in New Zealand.

Irfan Sheikh, with the Center, says they will not allow the attacks to divide humanity, or scare them away from their houses of worship.

“We take this as an attack, by an ignorant person on humanity, not just on the followers of Islam. And I think this calls for a concerted efforts by all of us, including Muslims, to educate masses about one another, and how to deal with our differences."

Sheikh says good people are still the majority in this world and they should come together, and prevent the hateful from dividing us along religious, racial or national lines.

Adel Najar says he saw video of senseless killing and expressed hope for the killer.

"I just ask God to help everyone and to maybe forgive him actually and bring him and guide him to what is right actually on this Earth."

What if Irfan Sheikh could sit down and talk with the killer?

"I would like to ask him what made him carry out this this act. Either he's totally ignorant about what he has done. Maybe he was misled by something, maybe he just reacted to certain things. Maybe it's some kind of fear he has. Or maybe it's just simple hate. But I think in either case, we can sit down and talk and I think it all really comes from our not knowing about others."