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A man from the Islamic Center, who did not wish to be identified, begins to cry during an interfaith vigil at Olivet Baptist church in Chattanooga, Tennessee July 17. Tami Chappell / Reuters

US Muslims fear mounting threats after attacks

A man from the Islamic Center, who did not wish to be identified, begins to cry during an interfaith vigil at Olivet Baptist church in Chattanooga, Tennessee July 17. Tami Chappell / Reuters

A man from the Islamic Center, who did not wish to be identified, begins to cry during an interfaith vigil at Olivet Baptist church in Chattanooga, Tennessee July 17. Tami Chappell / Reuters

OnIslam & News Agencies

CAIRO – A leading US Muslim advocacy group has called for launching a hate-crime investigation into threats and vandalism at two mosques, in the wake of Chattanooga deadly attack.

“We’ve seen a steady uptick in the number of incidents targeting Muslims and their institutions nationwide” due to attacks earlier this year on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Ibriahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told Chattanooga Times Free Press on Sunday, July 26

“Obviously, [Chattanooga] has fed into that overall atmosphere of Islamophobia in our nation.

“That and, quite frankly, we’re not getting any push-back from public officials in terms of public support at the national level, particularly for the Muslim community.”

Hooper’s calls followed an online arson threat against the Johnson City mosque and vandalism of the mosque in Roanoke after Chattanooga shooting.

Last July 16, a 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born gunman opened fire on a military recruiting station, then raced to a second military site where he killed four United States Marines.

The gunman, who also died Thursday, was identified as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, who became a naturalized United States citizen and went to high school and college in Chattanooga.

As the Muslim community rejected the attack, the family of Abdulazeez offered sympathy, condolences and prayers.

A few days ago, the officials of the Muslim Community Center of Northeast Tennessee in Johnson City have reported an online threat to Washington County Sheriff’s office.

A day earlier, Masjid An Nur Islamic Center came under attack when vandals broke the glass of the mosque’s front doors.

“Security Risks”

The situation got worse after vigilance groups took up arms to guard military recruitment centers after Chattanooga attack. The US Defense Department asked civilians to stand down.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter “is currently reviewing recommendations from the services for making our installations and facilities safer — including our recruiting stations,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement.

Adding to Muslims’ worries, two gun-store owners in Florida and Kentucky have declared their stores “Muslim-free zones.”

On the other hand, Bassam Issa, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, claimed that local Muslims haven’t been targeted or received threats.
Cooperating with interfaith groups, leaders of the Muslim community in Chattanooga, Nashville, have launched a fundraising campaign for the victims of the latest attacks, sending an out loud message against these attacks as contradicting with Islam.

The group, in coordination with the Muslim community in Chattanooga, the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and interfaith partners is leading effort to raise $20,000 for the families of the victims of July 16th attack.

The money will be used to cover college scholarships and educational expenses for the spouses and children.

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Muslims raise funds for Chattanooga victims

OnIslam & News Agencies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cooperating with interfaith groups, leaders of the Muslim community in Chattanooga, Nashville, have launched a fundraising campaign for the victims of the latest attacks, sending an out loud message against these attacks as contradicting with Islam.

“The Chattanooga families lost fathers, brothers, and sons in a deplorable act of violence on July 16th.  We wish to send a powerful message of unity and compassion through action,” Faith and Culture Center | Our Muslim Neighbor initiative said in a post on the charity website Launchgood.com.

The group, in coordination with the Muslim community in Chattanooga, the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and interfaith partners is leading effort to raise $20,000 for the families of the victims of July 16th attack.

The money will be used to cover college scholarships and educational expenses for the spouses and children.

The funds will be verified and dispersed through the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga 7-16 Freedom Fund.

“Faith and Culture Center | Our Muslim Neighbor will cover all administrative and processing fees associated in this effort, so your gift will have the maximum impact. We strongly urge you to take part in this action; give and help our community heal,” the group said.

Last July 16, a 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born gunman opened fire on a military recruiting station, then raced to a second military site where he killed four United States Marines.

The gunman, who also died Thursday, was identified as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, who became a naturalized United States citizen and went to high school and college in Chattanooga.

As the Muslim community rejected the attack, the family of Abdulazeez offered sympathy, condolences and prayers.

“There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief,” said a family statement, provided to the Associated Press by a lawyer representing the family of Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who was killed by police.

“The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved. For many years, our son suffered from depression. It grieves us beyond belief to know that his pain found its expression in this heinous act of violence.”

Support

The web page announcing this also has several appeals from community and religious leaders.

“Our communities need to come together and support the victims’ families,” Sheikh Ossama Bahloul, Imam at Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said.

“By coming together, no matter where you live or what religion you practice, you can be a part of something making our community a better place. Please give and support this important effort.”

Dr Naeem Baig, President Islamic Circle of North America and Moderator of Religions for Peace USA, echoed a similar message.

“It is at moments like these when all of us must come together to demonstrate unity over division. Let us stand in solidarity with the families of the victims in Chattanooga, and together create a culture that best embodies our deepest Islamic values of compassion and love for the neighbor. I urge all to support this cause,” he added.

The Muslim initiative won support of Christian and Jewish faith leaders as well.

“Our traditions and sacred texts instruct us not to stand idly by while our neighbor bleeds. We mourn the tragic loss of innocent human life in Chattanooga, the deranged shooting of five United States serviceman, those soldiers who sought to honor and defend our nation and its highest values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Rabbi Mark Schiftan, The Temple Nashville, said.

“Our hearts collectively compel us to support their families in their greatest time of need in tangible ways that will do something to ease their burdens, as they must first mourn their loved ones and then rebuild their lives as best as they can.”

Rev. Dr. Tony Richie, Bishop in the Church of God, Senior Pastor at New Harvest Church, added, “When communities of all faiths come together, it demonstrates that God is working in the face of evil.

“In these tough times, we can come together and turn the tables on the evil in our midst. Thus we overcome evil with good. In faith, common hope and love, we can minister to the Chattanooga families who are suffering.”

 

Azeez Ali Named Assistant Coach at IPFW

Azeez Ali FORT WAYNE, IN–Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) has announced the addition of Azeez Ali to its men’s basketball coaching staff.

Ali just completed his second season on John Shulman’s staff at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He served as the Director of Basketball Operations and managed travel, film exchange and the support staff.

“I’m excited to be here, excited to work with Coach Fife and his staff, and am very thankful for the opportunity,” Ali said.  “Hopefully I can contribute and be part of Coach Fife’s vision for winning the Summit League. I’d also like to thank Coach Shulman for the opportunity he provided me at UTC.”

“Azeez brings a wealth of experience and a winning mentality to our program,” Fife said.  “’Z’ has won at every level, including an NCAA berth with Chattanooga this past season.  He will be really good with our young guys as well as on the road recruiting.  We are very pleased to have him become part of our program.”

Ali helped lead the Mocs to the 2009 Southern Conference (SoCon) crown.  Before landing in Chattanooga, Ali worked at Cecil Community College (2005-07) in North East, Md. His duties included advance scouting and serving as the recruiting assistant. CCC had a record of 66-5 during his tenure. It won the 2006 NJCAA Division II National Championship and finished fifth in 2005, while also capturing two Maryland state championships and two region titles.

Ali is a native of Wilmington, Delaware. He helped lead Howard H.S. to the Blue Hen Conference title and the state final four in 2000. He is a 2004 graduate of Maryland-Eastern Shore with a degree in Business Administration.  He will graduate in December with a master’s degree in Special Education from UTC.

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