Orlando nightclub shooting: American Muslim leaders condemn attack

Washington: Muslim leaders in the US have strongly condemned the Orlando gay club shooting and described ISIS members as an "aberration" who do not speak for the faith amid reports that the gunman had sworn allegiance to the terror group.

Calling for unity, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Nihad Awad requested politicians not to "exploit" the horrific attack in Orlando in which 50 people have been killed.

 Orlando nightclub shooting: American Muslim leaders condemn attack

People hold a vigil after the Orlando shooting. Reuters

"This is a hate crime. Plain and simple. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It violates our principles as Americans and as Muslims. Let me be clear, we have no tolerance for extremism of any kind," Awad said, adding that he had a word for ISIS members and supporters. "You (ISIS) do not speak for us. You do not represent us. You are an aberration, you are an outlaw... they don't speak for our faith. They never belonged to this beautiful faith," Awad said.

The community has also launched a fund raiser for the victims of the deadliest shooting in the American history. "We are sickened and heartbroken by this appalling attack. Our hearts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims. There can never be any justification for such cowardly and criminal acts, period," Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad said on Sunday.

CAIR is country's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation. "We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence," said CAIR-Florida's Orlando Regional Coordinator Rasha Mubarak.

Outraged at the Orlando shooting, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said it stands with the victims of this senseless act of violence and mourn with the families of the victims and pray for their ease and comfort during this time
of difficulty.

"ISNA sends its condolences and prayers to the families of the victims. We urge the community to stand united against all acts of violence," said Azhar Azeez, President of ISNA, the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella group in North America.

"We stand in solidarity with them and repudiate any group that attempts to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence," said CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry. A crowdfunding campaign launched by American Muslims to support the families of the Orlando shooting victims has raised over more than $3,000.

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Updated Date: Jun 13, 2016 17:11:48 IST