A Bronx Muslim Leader’s Plea to ‘Not Let Fear Take Over’

Abrar mosque president Shahid Kaiser at the Church of the Mediator community space after Friday prayers. (Photo by Adrian Fussell via The Riverdale Press)

Abrar mosque president Shahid Kaiser at the Church of the Mediator community space after Friday prayers. (Photo by Adrian Fussell via The Riverdale Press)

Yassine Taoufik, the vice president of the Abrar mosque in Kingsbridge, told Riverdale Press reporter Will Speros that the congregation worries about the fate of Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks – an act committed by a small group of people.

“We are afraid that because of what one enemy or two do, innocent people are going to be neglected,” Mr. Taoufik said.

“We would like people to have an open mind,” he added. “Those extremists, that’s what they want: for us to live in fear and be miserable.”

“The majority just wants a better place to live, raise families. Put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if you were taking your family to a safer place and where you’re going rejects you?” he said. “People should not let fear take over.”

Taoufik, who has lived in the Bronx since coming to the U.S. nearly a decade ago from Morocco, said members of the congregation come mostly from Bangladesh, Pakistan and parts of North Africa – and at one point, a Syrian refugee was among the group.

Go to The Riverdale Press to read what Taoufik told the congregation to do when they hear rumors of extremist behavior, and whether life at the mosque changes when extremist acts of violence make the news.

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