Local Muslims mourn New Zealand victims, boost security

March 15, 2019 07:22 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)- Local Muslims grieved for the victims of the deadly attacks on two mosques in New Zealand on Friday, while paying close attention to security for themselves.

"In our own congregation, it hit us twice," says Tabassam Javed, the President of the Islamic Center of Rochester, "at the anti-immigrant level and the Islamophobic level."

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Javed is sickened by what happened in New Zealand. In addition to speaking with local and state police, he says members of the community have also offered to provide security.

While the attacks on Muslims happened thousands of miles away, Javed says he doesn't take anything for granted, and security will remain heightened at the Islamic Center.

"Most of the time, it is not even visible," he says, "whenever we have something like that, there is added security. There are people who come and protect the Islamic Center."

Javed blames part of his concern on the political rhetic and hate speech he says he hears. He also says too often there is not a quick response to violence against Muslims in America.

"I have seen this happen in many events that have happened in our country, where the responses have not really hit the nail on the head, saying 'yes, this is a terrorist attack, this is a hate crime, it is about a group of people who practice a certain faith." 

Javed says, however, that the response from the Rochester community has encouraged and strengthened him.

"I've also received e-mails, many text messages, many phone messages from Christian denominations, from Jewish brothers and sisters, and other people who don't even practice any of those faiths.' 

Worshippers told News10NBC that although they are devastated, they will refuse to live in fear and let hatred control them. 


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