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Muslim leaders speak out


By Lisa Brody
News Editor
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ALMASMARI:
I've never seen one, and I've been around a long time. What I think is, you might have people who say, "I want to live in the Middle East." I don't want to deny that. Which is their right because that's more of their home. But the general public, 99.99 percent, they're here to stay here. This is what they call home. They no longer look at the Middle East as home. I graduated as a judge in the Middle East, and I left all of that to live here. This is my home. I can't relate to the Middle East whatsoever, even though I go there frequently. I don't see myself there. I always tell people I would go crazy if I lived there. This is my home, where I feel comfortable, where I see myself living for the rest of my life.

OSMAN: There's 1.7 billion Muslims in this world; there's millions in the United States, and every time a terrorist attack occurs, it hurts, it's terrible, and we condemn it to the fullest extent. We don't want to limit the importance of an attack like that happening, and how much we need to come together.

As terror attacks occur overseas, suck as in Paris and Brussels, does that create a feeling of wariness or fear amongst your community, that there could be attacks upon local Muslims as a backlash or retaliation?

ALMASMARI:
Not really. Here, in the Michigan area, we just hope that things calm down. Every time something happens, I don't think people realize what we have to go through as a community. We have to deal with these physical attacks, and at the same time, we go through the 'real world,' and we have all of these emotional attacks, verbal attacks. It's very hurtful for many people.

OSMAN: At times, yes. Our mosque in Connecticut, after San Bernardino, an individual shot at it a couple of times. The individual, who was arrested and charged, met with our leadership there, apologized, and (later) was a speaker at the symposium there, and again apologized. It was very emotional because obviously, we're very saddened by what he had done, but for him to come out and apologize and ask for forgiveness, who are we not to forgive?

We are always fearful of these things happening, which is why we maintain security as much as possible, but at the same time, we have to keep opening our doors to anyone and everyone who wishes to come in.

What is the reaction in the Muslim community when officials call for at least a temporary halt to Muslims being allowed to enter America and that perhaps there should be increased surveillance of the Muslim community?

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Tags: LONGFORM

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