Muslims Find Themselves on a Roller Coaster Ride with Muhammad Ali and Omer Mateen
By Tahir Ali

Worcester:   This week was a defining moment for Muslims. First we had a week of great coverage of   Muhammad Ali  who even after his death controlled the outcome and gave us a much needed break from Islamophobia. Muslims around the globe were on the top rail of the coaster. Then came the Orlando night club shooting and our roller coaster came racing down as our screams "Hate Crime- Hate Crime-Hate Crime" were deafened by the loud rhetoric stemming from the presumptuous US Presidential nominee and most of the media.

The Muslims found themselves back in the defensive mode. When we were on the top rail, we joined the world in honoring Muhammad Ali. Both Islamic Centers in the Greater Worcester area (ISGW and WIC) offered a prayer service for the world champion. 

But as we were at the bottom of the rail, our resolve and composure was still high - a joint release was sent by both centers condemning the barbarous act, we converted our iftar dinner party to an interfaith prayer service.  The   Mayor  of Worcester   Joseph Petty  and   Reverend Aaron Payson  of Unitarian Church honored us with their presence at such a short notice. 

The following Friday, the temperature was in the 90's but that did not discourage at least 100 people who stood patiently over an hour in front of the Worcester City Hall to attend an Interfaith Prayer for the victims of Orlando shooting, organized by ISGW and WIC of Worcester. 

After observing a moment of silence, Shaikh Al Jawi recited a Surah, followed by its English translation by Mona Salem (EC /WIC). Amjad Bhatti (ISGW President) in his welcome address also read the official Islamic position, saying, "This barbaric act has no place in Islam and goes against its tenets."

Congressman George McGovern praised these efforts and thanked the organizers. Other speakers included City Manager Edward Augusta, Delegate(s) Noman Khanani and Asima Sliva.

Dr Mansoor Khan started off by saying, "We are united with our fellow Americans in condemning this act", then directed his focus on the youth in the community, "You are going to inherit a very different world from the one we inherited. America has changed, the world has changed." Khan asserted that it was important to reach out to our fellow Americans and make a positive difference. He concluded by saying, "The world is a little bit darker today, we look to you to spread some light and show the world  a brighter side."


WORCESTER (CBS)  – Local Muslims want the public to know their religion does not condone any violence, and clearly not the horror in Orlando. “This barbaric act has no place in Islam,” said Amjad Bhattii during a vigil on the steps of Worcester City Hall.

Members of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester gathered along with other clergy and political leaders for a public service at the end of a difficult week for the Islamic community.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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