Utah Imam condemns violent actions of Orlando gunman

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 12:44:42-04

WEST VALLEY CITY – Muslims in Utah are shocked and outraged over the events that unfolded in Orlando.

“This man is claiming to be a Muslim. We know full well any person that takes part in that act is not a Muslim,” said Imam Muhammed S. Mehtar with the Islamic Society of Greater Utah.

Mehtar was quick to condemn the actions of Omar Mateen. He’s the U.S. citizen from Florida with Afghan ties who police say gunned down 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

“It is wrong, there is no place for it in Islam, there's no place for it in Humanity,” Mehtar said.

At the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City where Mehtar leads, they’re cleaning up from a Ramadan event held Saturday night. It's a time meant for spreading peace and justice throughout the world.

“We had about 1,000 people," Mehtar said of the night's activities prior to learning of the shooting.  "We were all happy, we were fasting. We were taking part in fulfilling our obligations towards our creators."

Their focus shifted less than a day later to what they see as a senseless act carried out by a lone gunman.

“It's an act of hate," Mehtar said. "It's an act of terror, an act of violence. It's wrong.”

Islamic leaders are offering their condolences to the families of loved ones killed or injured, with a fear in the back of their mind that some may lump them in with someone who has hijacked their peaceful religion.

“We have to continue doing good things, we have to continue working with the people of Utah, and accept the kind of support and be the best we can be,” Mehtar said.

While there's a heightened alert among Muslims in Utah, leaders don't believe there's any threat.