Columbus Muslims work to improve relationship with city leaders

Published: Dec. 17, 2015 at 4:21 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2015 at 4:28 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Local Muslims say their religion is often misunderstood, and they want people to know more clearly what they believe in.

To reach that goal, they met with city officials on Wednesday night to discuss relations with the Muslim community in light of recent terror attacks.

Dr. Nizam and Dr. Zehera Khan say they have been part of the Columbus Muslim community for over 30 years. They say now is the time to meet with city leaders to make sure they can continue to live in a community where they wouldn't feel threatened.

"What being Muslim is about, and what they religion tells Muslims what to do and how is the life of a Muslim," said Dr. Zehera Khan.

Dozens in the Muslim community sat down Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and other leaders including members of the FBI, City Manager Isaiah Hugley and the Columbus Police Department at the The Columbus Islamic Center.

They say this meeting is important to understand each other and to continue to bring peace in the city.

"We want the safety and security for our city, and our nation and country. We are all part of one," said Farhad Ali.

With the recent terror attacks concerning Muslims in San Bernadino, California and Paris, local Muslims say they're not all the same and want to make sure those problems stay away from Columbus.

"This is not acceptable. This is not Islam. Islam always teaches you a peace, having a peaceful life and helping your fellow citizens," said Dr. Zehera Khan.

The Khans say many people have misconceptions about Muslims and their religion of Islam.

"We are concerned that majority that of Americans that all Muslims are like that. We want to show that not all Muslims are like these people and what they stand for and what they are doing," said Dr. Nizam Khan.

Members of the mosque say they are concerned for the safety and security for all people and that everyone should be protected.

The Columbus FBI office encouraged people to speak up and report any attacks to them or their place of worship because it could be a violation of their civil rights. The Columbus Islamic Center on Forrest Road says they plan to have more discussions like these in the future.

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