MOUNTAIN LAKES - Some of the Garden State’s Muslim residents say that they condemn the recent terror attacks committed in the name of Islam and are denouncing any violence in the name of their religion.
The group held the “Muslims Against Extremism” event Wednesday evening in Mountain Lakes. They say that the event is about standing up for themselves and for their religion because they believe that with some understanding and knowledge, people will learn what Islam is truly about.
“There is no room for any innocent killing. It is against the religious faith,” says Sami Chaudhary, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in North Jersey, a Muslim sect representing 700 families.
Chaudhary says he feels that true Islam is being mischaracterized by violence. He cites comments from Donald Trump about keeping Muslims from entering the country and calls from Sen. Ted Cruz to patrol Muslim communities. Chaudhary says that other Americans should get to know the Muslim community better.
“As soon as they know who we are, as soon as they know true Islam, they will change their minds,” he says.
Wednesday’s meeting was the first step in getting all the communities to listen to one another and to express what Islam means. Local mayors, police and sheriff officers attended the meeting as well.
“We need to fight together. We need to be a team,” says Parsippany Mayor James Barberio. “If you don’t do it together, it becomes that much more difficult.”
This is the third year this meeting has taken place. Each time the emphasis is on peace and understanding.