Updated: 06/02/2014 11:15 PM
Created: 06/02/2014 10:45 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
A Rochester restaurant owner from Yemen is accused of plotting attacks against U.S. soldiers and local Muslims.
Investigators say their suspect expressed interest in killing soldiers who were returning home and also spoke about hurting members of the Muslim community in western New York.
Mufid Elfgeeh was arrested at the Hudson Avenue Walmart over the weekend. He was in court Monday where he was accused of buying weapons from an informant. He is also the owner of the restaurant MoJoe's on North Clinton Avenue.
The local Muslim community is speaking out about these threats. Despite the news of Elfgeeh’s arrest and his plans to hurt members of the Muslim community, Muslims in Rochester find it hard to believe Elfgeeh is Muslim.
Sareer Fazili, Islamic Center of Rochester President, said, “Our religion is one of peace and one of submission and I think all of our friends in the faith based community know that.”
Sareer Fazili heads the board that runs the Islamic Center of Rochester. As he heard the details of Mufid Elfgeeh’s arrest, he says nothing could be more disturbing than hearing his claims to practice Islam.
Fazili said, “I'm very shocked, I'm very upset, very disappointed that somebody who claims they follow Islam, the same religion that has been taught for so many years would think that he is within the bounds of our teachings because nothing could be further from the truth.”
Fazili says he does not believe Elfgeeh has ever been a member of the Islamic Center. Beth Al Fayad says it wouldn't be the first time someone used religion to justify his or her own purpose.
Beth Al Fayad, Rochester Muslim, said, “I think you can find this in any religion. You find people who distort the message to carry on with their own purpose. You saw this during slavery. People used Christianity to justify slavery.”
The Rochester native says she hopes people continue to see Muslims as no different as any other Americans.
Al Fayad said, “We're proud to be American, I have an American flag hanging outside my door. We love this country and we love being a part of America and part of the Rochester community in particular. We are just as much a staple as any other religious community anywhere else and we're just trying to go about our lives just like everybody else.”
According to court documents, Elfgeeh tweets about the prophet Muhammad and terrorist groups fighting in the name of Allah, but members of the Islamic Center say these beliefs are foreign and are not what is taught at their center.