E. Texas Muslim leaders: Orlando attack is not Islam - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

E. Texas Muslim leaders: Orlando attack is not Islam

Source: KLTV Staff Source: KLTV Staff

East Texas Muslims are speaking out against what they call a perversion of their religion in response to Sunday's shooting that left 49 people dead at an Orlando LGBT club. 

READ MORE: Names of victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting

Vice President of East Texas Islamic Society Anwar Khalifa says, "It’s just sad for us, for Muslims, when our faith is drug through the mud anytime this happens, because it isn’t about faith."

In today's world, Khalifa says if the terrorist calls himself a Muslim, that's often the end of the motive search.

"When it’s not a Muslim who acts like this, then we, by default, don’t go to religion. We go to his mental state. But when it’s a Muslim, they say 'Oh, it’s because he’s Muslim."

Khalifa says each time a madman goes on a shooting rampage, yet claims Allah, Khalifa will be expected to speak on it.

"Of course, I denounce what he did. But for me to... be in a position where I have to denounce it, means I have something to do with what he’s done. That I need to further myself from him, and that’s just a tough place to be," Khalifa says.

He says he is disgusted that, yet again, someone has perverted his religion.

"When something like this happens and they claim it in the name of Islam, it hurts all of us," he adds.

Because Khalifa says that action is not reflected in the teachings of the Quran or other monotheistic religions, either.

"It‘s not justifiable. It's not justifiable in Christianity and it’s not justifiable in Islam."

Leaders say not all religions are treated equally, but, in this holy month of Ramadan, they will continue to love their neighbor.

Khalifa says his heart is broken for the victims of the Orlando attack.

"This is not Islam, and we stand with their community in their grief and their horror, because it’s our grief and our horror, as well."

Even in the face of baseless stereotypes and attacks on their faith, Khalifa says, "We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, that's trying to keep Tyler the best place to live. We’re going to still work in the nonprofit world. Still open our mosque up for people to find out who their Muslim neighbors really are, and keep trying to make Tyler the best place to live."

Thursday evening, the East Texas Islamic Society will gather with Tyler area LGBT organizations at Bergfeld Park for a peaceful vigil for the victims of the Orlando attack.The event will be held at 6:30 p.m.

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