BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — There are more questions than answers as the nation grapples with the killings of four Marines shot at a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn. The alleged shooter, 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazzez, was an apparent devout Muslim who members of the same religion are distancing themselves from in the aftermath of the bloodshed.
Reza Mansoor, President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, says his house of worship is standing together against Thursday’s act of violence.
“This was another act of a violent extremist who didn’t really understand the concept of his religion,” said Mansoor.
This time of year is normally a time of celebration for Muslims all over the world, as it marks the end of a month of fasting called Ramadan, and while parties will undoubtedly still take place, Mansoor says this year there is a different tone. At services Friday, the imam, or prayer leader, condemned the violence to send a message that Islam stands against what happened.
Yet, in the wake of the attack, some in the Muslim community worry they themselves could be victims. Mongi Dhaoudi, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on American-Islamic Relations, says his organization has been in touch with area mosques about stepping up security.
“We’re concerned this is a tragic event that could start some of the backlash against our community,” said Dhaoudi. “We’re very concerned about it.”
Dhaoudi and Mansoor say they want to make it very clear the shooting in Tennessee was an attack on those who defend the United States, and, as Americans, they see it as an attack on them as well.