Local Muslim leader talks about perception after California tragedy

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, has generated conversation and debate around the country.

The tragedy has caught the attention of people in our region.

Dr Mubashir Mumtaz is a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

He says the attacks against innocent people were acted out by cowards. “We feel horrible for the crimes that were committed,” said Mumtaz, “They don’t represent religion, they represent violence in the person.”

Law enforcement recommends that people should report suspicious activity.

Some wonder if that could lead to unfair profiling of law-abiding followers of Islam. “If there is something suspicious that I am doing, and someone is uncomfortable, they should report it,” said Mumtaz, “But to stereotype a whole community for the actions of a few, is unfair.”

Mumtaz says we need to take a common sense approach going forward. He says a big contributor to fear, is unfamiliarity.

Mumtaz says a recent Pew poll suggest that nearly 200 million Americans have never met a Muslim.

Mumtaz says all are welcome to visit the Hadee Mosque in Harrisburg.

He says that will give people from all backgrounds a chance to learn about each other, and squash the stereotypes that we learn from the media and other outlets.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is holding a prayer service tomorrow at the Hadee Mosque at 1:00 p.m. and a candlelight vigil on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

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