Valley Muslims Fear Backlash from Fort Hood Attack

FRESNO, Calif. Members of Fresno's Muslim community fear a backlash because the suspect, Major Nidal Hasan, is Arab-American. They say this is a time to unite and not divide the community.

The solemn service at the Islamic Cultural Center in Northeast Fresno included a special prayer for those who were killed and wounded at Fort Hood Army Base in Texas. The shooting shook Islamic Cultural Center Director Kamal Abu-Shamshieh to his core.

Kamal Abu-Shamsieh said, "The first thing is one, what a horrible act. Then the second one is a prayer. Oh God, have him not be a Muslim because we've been through that before. We've been through 9/11 and we saw the aftermath of 9/11, of Muslims being vilified."

Those who came to pray worry the incident will cause some people to become more suspicious of Muslims.

Abu-Shamsieh said, "We hope and we pray that fellow Americans will not use that as an opportunity to show their outrage by directing that at the Muslim community."

Abu-Shamshieh called the attack in Texas a criminal and not a religious act.

Abu-Shamshieh said, "We don't want the community to be fearful. We want to send to send assurances that one, what happened to fellow Americans does impact us and hurt as well."

Abu-Shamshieh believes it is important to send a message of calmness at this time.

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