Leaders in the Connecticut Muslim community are making a plea for more police presence at state mosques and even though shots were fired at a Meriden place of worship, they are opening their doors wider to the public.
The event came after someone shot bullets at the Baitful Aman Mosque on Main Street in Meriden hours after the terror attack in Paris last Friday. Police said they were targeted by someone who used a high power assault weapon.
"We want to give the community the assurance that what the terrorists are doing is not what we practice or preach," Salaam Bhatti with the Baitul Aman Mosque said.
The Meriden Police Department has already stepped up patrols in area around the Baitful Aman Mosque.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident where several bullet holes had pierced the men’s prayer area. FBI officials said the shooting at mosque is believed to be "an isolated incident."
"There is no outstanding threat to the community associated with the shooting," Marybeth R. Miklos told Eyewitness News.
The investigation is "ongoing," Miklos said.
Along with calling more police patrols, the leaders explained what's happening at mosques throughout the state and said "these terrorists groups don't represent our faith and our community."
"We are standing firm that we will fight for their right to worship in this country free from fear and intimidation," Mongi Dhaouadi with CAIR-Connecticut said during a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Friday afternoon.
The leaders of Baitful Aman Mosque said they are not shutting people out since the recent attack and are inviting the public in to learn about their faith.
"It's not going to make us lock ourselves in our homes and not going to make us shut our doors. In fact, we'll open our doors wider to let people know what the true teachings of Islam are," Salaam Bhatti said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy visited the Baitful Aman Mosque on Friday afternoon. But, Malloy was not the only one who visited the place of worship.
"We are really stricken our neighbors were hurt like this," Art Ogonoski, of Meriden, said. "There's no way this should happen."
The interfaith community is working on calling and writing letters to police departments in towns where there is a mosque.
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