WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - After a 'terroristic' shooting took the lives of six Muslims in a Quebec mosque, a local Imaam is finding reasons to be grateful.
Despite obvious setbacks and discouragement members of Islam are facing lately, Imaam Muhammed Mehtar says local Muslims are trying to staying positive and focus on the goodness that surrounds them.
"The LDS faith, people from the Catholic faith, you name it, the Jewish community, everyone has reached out to us..." Mehtar told Good4Utah's Ali Monsen during an interview at the Khadeeja Islamic Center, Monday. "We have been amazed at the support we're getting in airports, the support we're getting even just walking around," he said.
Over the span of 24 hours, Mehtar says worshippers have received goody baskets, flowers, and encouraging messages from people who want Utah Muslims to feel welcome and safe. The gestures, he says, are meaningful right now, especially as tensions run high.
Rallies rang out at airports in California, Washington, Dallas, New York, North Carolina, and Utah, among other places over the weekend. The protesters condemned President Donald Trump's latest executive orders banning people in seven Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the US for the next 90 days.
"We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas," President Trump said during a speech.
The latest cause for concern erupted Sunday night, during the deadly shooting in Quebec. The pain and suffering stemming from the attack seems personal for many Muslims in the US, including those worshipping 2,000+ miles away in West Valley, where Mehtar says dozens gathered Monday morning to pray.
"[During that prayer,] our focal point was to reach out to the people in Quebec, but it was also to reach out to people all over," the Imaam said, adding that many minorities and social groups are feeling discouraged and unsafe as well.
Mehtar says members of Islam can not help but feel frustrated with common misconceptions about their faith.
"Right now, it is, 'Muslims are violent. Muslims are evil, and they want to destroy the goodness and core or western civilization,'" he said.
The spiritual leader says the Muslims he knows are only seeking safety "to get away from the evils -- of the likes of Isis -- and many tyrannical groups."
Imaam Mehtar says his community feels blessed to live in Utah where they do feel support. He says right now, they are focusing not on fear but on faith, prayer, and the goodness surrounding them.
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