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Local Muslim community reacts to New Zealand shooting

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Word of the deadly New Zealand shooting hits close to home at the Muslim Association of Greater Rockford.

“We grieve and we are saddened,” said Muslim Association of Greater Rockford imam Dr. Mohamed  Elghobashy. “[We are] terrified by what happened to our Muslims. The same thing we feel whenever anything accident like this happens to anyone.”

Elghobashy says many called him with concerns, fearing they could be targeted during Friday’s prayer. But, local authorities pledged to help without even being asked.

“This morning, the Sheriff’s department and the police department called and they said ‘we will be there’,” said Elghobashy. “That gave people some confidence.”

In addition to law enforcement, MAGR also hired a security company.

“We assured people you don’t have to worry about it,” said Elghobashy. “We’ll have everything possible to assure people security in the mosque.”

Elghobashy believes terrorism has no religion, adding it’s important to become educated about others different from us.

“This comes from ignorance,” said Elghobashy. “I think people need to learn more about religion, about different religions. They need to understand that we’re all brothers.”

Many sent flowers and cards to the mosque in the wake of the events in New Zealand.

Elghobashy says because we are all humans, we should be united.

“We see a lot of support from our community here,” said Elghobashy. “Many leaders of the church, synagogues they are ready to come.”

In the wake of Friday’s killings, a vigil will be held this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to the Muslim Association of Greater Rockford community center and mosque, 5921 Darlene Drive.

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