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Local Islamic Organization unequivocally denounces violence - Press Conference on December 21, 2015

I am Ehtisham Siddiqui, a Trustee of the Islamic Organization of Southern Tier and its current President.  I stand before you representing the 1,000 or so Muslims that reside in the Southern Tier and call it their home.  Most of us, including me, are first generation immigrants and proud citizens of the United States.


I would like to begin by recognizing the efforts of Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell and other leaders of the Children of Abraham group in bringing us together to speak out against discrimination of any sort against any religious group in this country.   I thank the Faith Leaders that are here today for their personal engagement in making this happen.


Today’s event has been driven by our collective determination to respond to the extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric espoused by mainstream Media and by some of our prominent politicians. Our faith and our allegiance to this country is continuously being questioned.  Our statements and our stance against terrorist acts are critically examined and repeatedly tested.  Consequently, it should come as no surprise that there have been more incidents of damage, destruction and vandalism of Mosques this year than at any other time since the 9/11. 


So, I want to take this opportunity to explicitly and unequivocally state that attacks on innocent civilians, whether they occur in Boston, Paris, San Bernardino, or any other city in the world, are outrageous acts and without justification. We condemn these horrific crimes in the strongest terms possible.


Most of these attacks are claimed by so called Islamic groups such as Al Qaeda or ISIS.  Let me categorically say that there is nothing Islamic about these people and their actions are evil and, without a doubt, contradict a fundamental Islamic belief that the sanctity of life, regardless of religious background, is to be recognized and preserved. 


 “Whosoever kills a person unjustly is as if he has killed the whole of mankind; and whosoever saves the life of a person is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind”.  Koran, Chapter 5, verse 32.


We are being vigilant in our community and are in touch with the federal and local safety agencies.  We are also comforted and reassured by the outpouring of support from members of the Churches and Synagogues of the Southern Tier.  For this, we are hugely indebted and grateful.

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