Islamic leaders in Connecticut are condemning the mass shooting that killed more than a dozen people in Southern California, and a Meriden mosque that appears to have been targeted after the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks will hold a vigil to honor the victims of the San Bernardino massacre.
Authorities have not determined a motive for the shooting in California that killed 14 people and injured 21 others at a holiday party at a state-run social services facility, but the suspects, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, were in contact with people who expressed jihadist views, U.S. intelligence sources told NBC News. The investigation continues and terrorism hasn’t been ruled out.
The shooting suspects' religion — the Ahmadiyaa sect of Islam — has Muslims in Connecticut on alert. Local Islamic leaders are emphasizing their religion is about peace.
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"We condemn any kind of violence and we stand in solidarity with all Americans," said Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, president of the Connecticut Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. "I think all Muslims in the world want peace and there are a few who have hijacked our religion and we have to take it back from them."
Days after Islamic extremists took responsibility for carrying out the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris that left 130 dead and wounded hundreds more, someone opened fire into the Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden, where Qureshi worships.
"One of the bullets actually came through the outer wall through the building, through the inner wall, and it actually exited... to the other wall," Salaam Bhatti, spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, described after the shooting last month.
Police said they have identified a suspect in that case, but have not named the person.
"When our mosque was shot at, we opened our doors, and the love and affection we got from fellow people in Connecticut was amazing," Qureshi said.
The Batal Aman Mosque will hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Friday to honor victims of the San Bernardino mass shooting. The public is invited to attend.