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Muslim Community Members Condemn Orlando's Deadly Shooting Spree


Now, let's bring another voice into the conversation now. It's Rasha Mubarak, Orlando's regional coordinator for the Center for American-Islamic Relations on the line. Rasha, good morning.

RASHA MUBARAK: Good morning.

GREENE: So let me just ask you, I was at a vigil last night. And an imam came on stage and stressed that the Muslim community is so peaceful and is sort of suffering through this tragedy along with everyone else. I know that you have been through moments like this before where it is important to stress that fears that there could be a backlash against the Muslim community.

Is that happening?

MUBARAK: It's happening. It's on the back of everyone's mind right now. But, you know, first a foremost, we're concerned as Floridians that are mourning and grieving with our community. And our first concerns are the victims and their families and how to comfort them and how to mobilize blood drives and GoFundMe accounts and getting the essentials that they need.

GREENE: So so far, no backlash that you have seen?

MUBARAK: There has been backlash as far as mosques getting some death threats. But they're working hard with law enforcement and FBI to ensure that the safety is available.

GREENE: Look, I want to play a little bit of tape here because his attack has drawn a very strong reaction from the presidential campaign trail. And yesterday, the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, re-upped his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. And this was during a speech in New Hampshire.


DONALD TRUMP: I called for a ban after San Bernardino and was met with great scorn and anger. But now many are saying that I was right to do so. And although the pause is temporary, we must find out what is going on. We have to do it. It will be lifted, this ban, when and as a nation, we're in a position to properly and perfectly screen these people coming into our country.

GREENE: Rasha, your reaction to that?

MUBARAK: I mean, that's the exact narrative that our country does not need. Our elected officials, our candidates, they need to be sending a message of inclusion because it's not just putting Muslims in danger, but really it's putting our national security.

So that kind of messaging, that negative rhetoric, it's really playing a disservice for Americans because that's actually contributing to what - any kind of extreme or radicalism, what radicalization wants to see.

GREENE: What would you tell an American who hears that and is very fearful and an American who might say, you know, they have friends who are Muslims? This is not an anti-Muslim feeling. But they hear Donald Trump propose something like that. And they just feel like what other way could they be protected unless some action like that is taken?

MUBARAK: I think we have to take it back to the drawing boards as a country, as a nation. And, you know, the responsibility is - and the legwork is not just solely in the Muslim community, who has been the leading advocate group for detecting any kind of radicalization extremism. Working with the imams in mosques, they've been reporting anything strange that they see in their mosques.

So working as a nation with elected officials, with community members, with media to ensure that any kind of radicalization of any faith, just like in the Planned Parenthood shooting, that was done in extreme views of one specific faith.

GREENE: OK, we've been speaking to Rasha Mubarak, the Orlando regional coordinator for the Center for American-Islamic Relations. Rasha, thanks so much for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it.

MUBARAK: Thank you so much for having me.

GREENE: And we're going to be continuing to cover this story all morning long. Again, we're covering the aftermath of what was the deadliest mass shooting in United States history here in Orlando at a nightclub early Sunday morning.

Our colleagues have been following different threads of this story, including learning much more about the killer, Omar Mateen, who was killed by police in that attack. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.