CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, Muslims from different organizations in northeast Ohio stood together Wednesday to denounce the acts and bring more awareness to their Islamic faith.
"Extremists are the root of these problems and the Muslim community is paying for it," said Abbas Ahmad, Imam of First Cleveland Mosque. "There are 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and 1.6 billion Muslims should not be blamed for acts by a few so-called Muslims."
"My faith does not support these unjustified actions committed by extremists. It's frustrating to continuously apologize for crimes committed by individuals whom are half way around the world. Why must I be profiled just because I'm Muslim," said Sarah Mohammad, VP of the Muslim Student Association at Cleveland State State University.
The group addressed recent statements by Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
Trump has called for Muslims to be banned from entering the U.S. and for mosques to be placed under surveillance.
"Many of the statements by our presidential candidates have been fueling nothing but hate and racism against one another," said Abbas Ahmad. "We also urge political leaders to refrain from engaging in dangerous and divisive anti-Muslim rhetoric that undermines our country's values and harms the fabric of our diverse society."
The Imam said that during these times, Americans should stand tall and defeat terrorism and hate around the world. The first steps, he said, should be to educate people about Islam and Muslims.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.
The group is asking citizens to contact their lawmakers about supporting House Resolution 569, which condemns violence, bigotry and hateful rhetoric targeting American Muslims.