EDISON - Members of Middlesex County’s Muslim community met in Edison Wednesday to speak out against terrorism and show support for the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
They were joined at Royal Albert’s Palace by other faith leaders and members of the law enforcement community. This included New Jersey’s U.S. attorney and the head of the state’s FBI office.
The attack on the gay nightclub Sunday was carried out by an American Muslim man with radical views, officials say. Nearly 50 people were killed and dozens were injured.
The Muslim community that gathered broke the traditional daylong fast during Ramadan to show that they do not support these types of views.
“The reason that we are here tonight is really to show solidarity with our fellow Americans,” says Sami Elmansoury, of the American Muslim Council.
As presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continues to call for a ban on Muslim immigration, many who attended the meeting say that they want to affirm their position as Americans against terrorism.
“Our country was built upon diversity and built upon inclusion, and it's built upon rejecting this notion that Donald Trump is sowing,” Elmansoury says.
Many of the law enforcement members who attended the meeting say the best way to protect the country is for everyone to work together.
“Everything we do in the FBI we do with our partners, whether it's in law enforcement or with the community, and absolutely we need to work hand-in-hand with the Muslim community,” says Newark FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Tim Gallagher.
The gathering featured several hundred people and also served as an iftar dinner, which is the meal that traditionally breaks the day of fasting during Ramadan.
Several other vigils for the Orlando victims were held in New Jersey Wednesday, including ones in Hoboken and Keyport.