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Oregon Muslim community condemns Orlando shooting

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Wajdi Said, co-founder of the Muslim Educational Trust on Scholls Ferry Road, was one of more than 30 members of Portland's Muslim community to sign a letter denouncing the attacks at an Orlando, Fla. nightclub over the weekend.The Muslim Educational Trust is speaking out against the mass shooting at an Orlando night club.

MET, a nonprofit organization based on Southwest Scholls Ferry Road which works to bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims, has condemned the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., calling the attack “senseless” and a warped, a distorted interpretation of Islam.

MET wrote an open letter to members of the media on Tuesday, signed by 37 members of Portland’s Muslim community calling the shooting “abhorrent” and offered condolences to those who lost their lives.

“We all denounce any person or group that would try to call to or justify any horrific act of terror, hate, and violence,” MET wrote. “Please let us join others here and throughout our state, nation and world -- to call for an end to terrorism, hate, and violence. Let us join together to build a future where all people can live safely without fearing for their safety”

The shooting, which occurred Sunday, is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, leaving 49 dead and 53 others wounded.

The shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen was an American of Afghan heritage.

“Islam prohibits violence and killing and emphasizes time and time again the sanctity of human life,” the letter reads.

Mateen had reportedly sworn allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a jihadist militant group which has been fighting Iraqi and Syrian forces since 2014.

The group, often referred to as ISIL or ISIS, has been recruiting members from all over the world.

Mateen was shot and killed by police after a three-hour standoff.

After the attack, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump expanded on his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States, saying he would suspend immigration from countries where “there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or allies.”

"The ban will be lifted when we as a nation are in a position to properly and perfectly screen those people coming into our country," Trump said at a news conference in New Hampshire on Monday. "We are importing radical Islamic terrorism into the west through a failed immigration system."

MET said that fear of Muslims would only further separate Americans.

“We also stand united against Islamophobia, and any kind of hate or discrimination, incited by fear of ‘the other,’” MET wrote. “…Our diversity as a nation is a beautiful blessing that should be a source of strength, unity, and great inspiration, rather than division, fear, and uncertainty.”

The letter was signed by several people from across Oregon, including members of the Islamic Social Services of Oregon State, Muslim Community Center of Portland, Islamic Center of Eugene, Somali American Council of Oregon, Oregon Muslim Citizens Alliance and the Iraqi Refugee Society for Greater Portland Area.



Here is the letter, in its entirety:

The American Muslim and Arab-American Communities in Oregon and SW Washington unequivocally condemn the senseless murder that has occurred in Orlando, Florida and offer our condolences to the victims and their families. Islam does not condone wanton murder or individual vendettas. This abhorrent action and the like are all prohibited in Islam and in direct violation of the teachings of Islam. We all denounce any person or group that would try to call to or justify any horrific act of terror, hate, and violence.

Please let us join others here and throughout our state, nation and world to call for an end to terrorism, hate, and violence. Let us join together to build a future where all people can live safely without fearing for their safety.

Vigils are being held nationwide every day this week, and the community is coming together to stand united in the face of hate, bigotry, and violence in every shape and form.

 We also stand united against Islamophobia, and any kind of hate or discrimination, incited by fear of "the other." We pledge to uphold that our diversity as a nation is a beautiful blessing that should be a source of strength, unity, and great inspiration, rather than division, fear, and uncertainty. Islam prohibits violence and killing and emphasizes time and time again the sanctity of human life. According to the Quran [5:32], the likeness of one who murders a soul is as one who has transgressed and murdered all of humanity, and the likeness of one who brings life to a soul is as one who has given life and hope to all of humanity.


Signees,

Abdisalan Muse, Oregon Somali Family Education Center

Imam Abdullah Polovina, Bosniaks Educational & Cultural Organization

Ahmed Omer, Masjid Ibrahim (Bethany Musalla)

Arshad Ashfaq, Masjid Omar Farooq

Dr. Birol Yesilada, Portland, Oregon

Gulzar Ahmed,Tualatin, Oregon

Hala Gores, Attorney at Law and Former President of Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon

Hidayat Kisdarjono, Islamic Society of SW Washington - Masjed Al-Noor

Ibrahim Turki, Hillsboro, Oregon

Jahed Sukhun, Beaverton, Oregon

Jawad Khan, Muslim Educational Trust

Dr. Khalid Khan, Islamic Society of SW Washington - Masjed Al-Noor

Laila Cully, Member of MET's Advisory Board

Laila Hajoo, Islamic Social Services of Oregon State

Dr. Mohamed Siala, Salman AlFaresi Islamic Center, Corvallis (SFIC)

Mohammed Haque, Oregon Muslim Citizens Alliance

Imam Muhammad Najieb, Muslim Community Center of Portland

Masjid Abu-Bakar

Mozafar Wanly,Salman AlFaresi Islamic Center, Corvallis

Muslims of Salem, Salem Islamic Center

Musse Olol, Somali American Council of Oregon

Dr. Nadjoua Moumen, Beaverton, Oregon

Nick Kahl, Attorney at Law

Omar Obaid, Iraqi Refugee Society for Greater Portland Area

Osman Salaev, Ahiska Turkish Community Center of Oregon

Rania Ayoub, Muslim Educational Trust

Ronault (Polo) Catalani, New Portlander Policy Commission

Salahuddin Kadri, Muslim Educational Trust

Dr. Saleh Ismail, M.D. Salem, Oregon

Salma Ahmed, Islamic Society of Greater Portland

Samira Godil, SW Community Health Center

Dr. Shahriar Ahmed, Bilal Masjed, Beaverton

Stephen Johnson and Khedijah Nure, Beaverton, Oregon

Suhail Khan, Northrup Corporation

Tom Nelson, Attorney at Law

Wajdi Said, Muslim Educational Trust

Dr. Waleed Vliza, M.D. Islamic Center of Eugene



By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor
The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood
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