Southland Muslims said they were shocked and heartbroken over the recent news, emphasizing the behavior by the two men are acts of extremists and not that of the Islamic community.
"It's very disturbing to us all that our faces are being dragged into the mud by Muslim extremists and how we have to explain to our children what Islam is really about, and we have to explain to the American public what Islam is really about," said Salam Al- Marayati, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council.
"We're not responsible for what happened in Boston but we are responsible for speaking out against violent extremism. "
Muslim leaders discussed security issues with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials on Friday and hosted a prayer service and news conference with civic and community leaders of all faiths at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, Al- Marayati said.
This went on while the manhunt continued Friday as authorities identified two brothers in Boston's Muslim community as the apparent suspects in the Monday bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev wasn't a devout practicing Muslim, "but just recently, maybe two years ago, he started praying five times a day, according to a family member. Tamerlan was killed Thursday night during a shootout with police. Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev described his world view online as "Islam." He was captured Friday.
Muslim leaders said their religion means peace and submission to the will of God, and an individual who calls themselves Muslim and who does not create peace within society is not a true believer.
Imam Shamshad Nasir of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque in Chino said the persons who are creating such crimes are hijacking the religion.
"All Muslims are not terrorists, the majority are peace-loving people. I feel sad there is an association and how the name of Islam is taken by some people who think all Muslim are terrorists," he said.
"There is no prophet or religion that teaches to kill innocent people, and there is certainly no room for this type of activity in Islam. "
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, cautioned Friday that it's too early to tell whether religion was a motivating factor in the Boston Marathon attacks or not.
"If it turns out that it was a motivating factor, then I think we need to re mind ourselves that this is a corruption of faith and inconsistent with the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of practitioners of any of the great faiths, including the Muslim faith," Schiff said.
Brian Levin, director Cal State San Bernardino's center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said this kind of aggression is seen across all ideologies and faiths.
"It is the fanatic, not the faith," he said.
And obliviously, Islamophobes will have a field day with this, but the fact of the matter is statically these kind of cases, while are a cause of concern, they are a tiny sliver of the Muslim community.
"Not only that, we don't even know what the motivation of these guys are, was it personal, nationalistic, religious or personal setback?" Levin said.
Aaron Abdus-Shakoor, chairman of the Masjid al-Taqwa mosque in Altadena, said it was "heartbreaking" to hear the initial reports that the suspects were Muslim.
"Here we go again with something that an individual does that's so extreme and professes to be Muslim," he said. "It gives people ammunition to say something negative about Islam.
Abdus-Shakoor, who converted to Islam about four decades ago, said he's never known a Muslim that has talked about being violent or destroying anything.
"All the individuals I've been associated with all my life as a Muslim have never condoned any such act like this," he said.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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