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Islamic Center leader says violence in New Zealand won't keep local Muslims from their prayers

The Islamic Center of Rochester

The leader of the Islamic Center of Rochester says his members certainly are concerned by what they’ve seen and heard from the mass shooting in New Zealand at two mosques that killed at least 49 people, and injured a number of others.

But Tabassam Javed says it will not stop the local Muslims who pray at that facility in Brighton from attending services.

"None of them is altering their scheduled prayers, I’m even thinking that I may get even more people than what I normally do, just people making a statement that they’re not going to have these things, these heinous acts of terrorism, thwart in any way, their worship plans,” Javed told WXXI News.

He says the fact that these victims were attacked at their most vulnerable time, while they were praying, makes it even more horrific.

But Javed says he is heartened by the kind of support the Muslim community has received in Rochester whenever events like this happen.

“We have received tremendous support and tremendous messages of solidarity from the Jewish community from the Christian community, from the Hindu community, the Sikh community and also from many non-denominational people who do not practice any particular faith, but yet, at the same time, find this so abhorrent that they want to express their support for that,” Javed said.

Javed said he is in regular communication with law enforcement  about the security of people who attend the Islamic Center for prayers and other activities.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that he has directed State Police to step up patrols around mosques and other houses of worship.  Rochester Police also said that patrols will provide increased visibility at area mosques as a precaution. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.