Local Muslims: No room in religion for violence or hate carried out in Orlando

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee-area Muslims held a prayer Sunday evening for the victims of a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida and condemned the shooter's actions.

At least 50 people lost their lives and another 53 people were hurt in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday, June 12. It is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The shooter, Omar Mateen, was Muslim and pledged to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack, although details are still emerging about his ties to the terror group. Local Muslims say there is no room in their religion for violence or hate.

"Islam teaches us to be humane and kind to everybody -- every life is valued equally. There's no room for this in the teachings of Islam for what this individual carried out," Rizwan Ahmad with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said.

Local Muslims pray for victims of Orlando mass shooting

The 29-year-old, who died in a shootout with police, lived in Fort Pierce, Florida. Bomb squad teams, FBI agents and police combed his apartment there for hours on Sunday. Investigators haven't revealed what they found.

Rizwan Ahmad

Rizwan Ahmad

About 25 Muslims held a vigil at a mosque on Milwaukee's north side Sunday prior to their Ramadan prayers.

They said Mateen's apparent tie to ISIS was not an indictment of their faith.

"It is very frustrating," Ahmad said. "The same propaganda that ISIS uses for its recruitment is the same propaganda a lot of the anti-Islamic Islamophobes use as well. They cite the same verses of the Quran, which they are taking out of context for their own political agenda."

Citing information from law enforcement officials, Ahmad said the shooter's history of mental illness was the root cause of the violence.

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The mass shooting in Orlando brought back memories of the 2012 shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, an act of violence deemed both a mass shooting and a hate crime. Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist, killed six people at the temple.

Local Sikhs said the latest mass shooting troubled them.

"It's almost like Groundhog's Day," said Amar Kaleka, whose father -- the temple's founder -- died in the 2012 shooting. "You just keep dealing with these challenges from the past."

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting victims

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting victims

Amar Kaleka

Amar Kaleka

Sikhs are not Muslims, but the groups are often confused in the U.S. because the men wear turbans and women wear headdresses.

Kaleka has since becoming an advocate for gun control, including background checks for all gun purchases. He said the 2012 incident taught him that violence can happen to anyone.

"I think we ourselves, the people, need to be more vigilant," Kaleka said. "That doesn't mean strapping up and getting an open access to firearms license. That means looking out for each other, having each others' back."

Ahmad said Ahmadiyya Muslims feel a responsibility to teach others about the meaning of their religion.

"As Muslims, we do feel a responsibility to help prevent other Muslims from becoming radicalized because, at the end of the day, when somebody with a Muslim name does something -- regardless if they did it in the name of Islam or not -- society tends to link it back to Islam," Ahmad said.

7 comments

  • unicorns and rainbows

    Every time a Radicalized Muslim carries out an “AN ACT OF ISLAMIC TERROR” the media runs to the defense of these radicals and also brings up the Sikh Temple Shooting to justify the media’s sympathy. I noticed Fox 6 “Political” reporter Theo Keith submitted this propaganda, makes sense now.

  • Norell

    Islam is not a religion, It is a political ideology, based on hate, for anyone who don’t believe in Islam. They hate everyone. Don’t let these people fool you, they are inherently evil, passed down from father to son. Just look in their eyes and you will see there is no love for anyone. They are even afraid of each other, It is like being a Nazi, you can’t speak against Islam.

  • Opinion8d

    No room for Gays in their religion either…..and no respect for women either…..and no room for non-muslims…..

  • Chrisco

    Until you start turning these people nobody believes you. The bible would make a good R rated movie. The k0ran would be a X rated movie. I have read them both.

  • Terry

    NO ROOM IN America for ISLAM!!! Islam is a death cult, there are at least THREE different version of the Koran that is shopped around for recruiting purposes, Muslims have NO INTENTION in CO EXISTING, they KILL, HATE, BURN, and RAPE, its what they do, its what the Koran tells them to do

  • Unprez

    ARE PEOPLE TO BLIND TO FORGET THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE HATE FOR LGBT COMMUNITY AND ARE JUST PRETENDING TO SYMPATHIZE NOW FOR POLITICAL REASONS. YOUR NOT FOOLING ANYONE

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