Muslims Across Kansas City Say New Zealand Terrorist Attack Won't Deter Them
At the end of Friday prayer, dozens of worshippers at Masjidu Nuur Islamic Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri, said an extra one. They prayed for Allah to take the victims of the New Zealand shooting to paradise.
Forty-nine people were killed in a terrorist attack Friday at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. The country's prime minister says one man is the "primary perpetrator," and media reports say a few people are in custody. A gunman livestreamed the shooting on Facebook.
The motive itself and the identity of the shooter, or shooters, were not top-of-mind at Masjidu Nuur in Northeast Kansas City.
"I am feeling really sad, what happened to those innocent people just doing worship," Sadia Adam said. "It's really more important for us, no matter how we're feeling, scared or sad, we're here to show that we're still doing our worship. There's nothing that's going to stop us from worshipping Allah."
Adam's teenage daughter, Fadumo Ahmed, said she hopes those who are responsible for the deaths face consequences and realize they did something wrong.
"We don't know what's going to happen at any minute, who can walk in the door and do the same thing like he did, so we are all feeling scared of course," Adam said.
Abduwahab Ibrahim is on the board at Masjidu Nuur. He said after Friday's shooting, the board discussed options but realized quickly they would not be able to afford security. He said most worshippers there are low-income, and the only expense the center can afford is utilities.
Ibrahim is a father of five. His youngest child came to worship with him Friday, but he said he didn't tell the 4-year-old about the attack because he didn't want him to be afraid to come to worship.
Ibrahim is a refugee who came to Kansas City in 2004 from Somalia.
"As a refugee, you are looking for a safe place. America is, I can say I feel safe here. Except some of the things going on. If somebody does something bad, they are not going to get away with it here," Ibrahim said.
He added that greatest concern is that people may misinterpret his religion.
"If a radical Muslim does something bad, who's going to pay the price? The good Muslims," Ibrahim said.
In Overland Park, Kansas, the Islamic Center of Johnson County serves 4,000 members. After the attack, center officials said they would add armed guards during weekend prayers, and the Overland Park Police Department agreed to issue extra patrols.
Moben Mirza is on the Islamic Center's Board of Trustees.
"Do we need to change anything? Do we need to be on lockdown? Does everybody need secure badge access into the mosque, or do we keep an open mosque? Do we hire full-time security?" he said.
Mirza noted that the board has this conversation every time there's a similar act of violence.
The Islamic Center of Johnson County will hold a vigil at 7:30 Friday for the victims and as a celebration of diversity.