Religious leaders look to build unity in CT amid division

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Being targeted over their faith is nothing new to the Ahmaddiya Muslim Community in Connecticut. It was exactly a year ago when a neighbor opened fire on their mosque, shooting live rounds inside the empty building.

“There is nothing to fear,” said Zahir Muhammad Mannan, director of outreach and education for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. “As Muslims who believe in a messiah that came to unite humanity, we’re here for unification, to build bridges.”

The same way they built a bridge to connect with the man who was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for firing those bullets, they’re also hoping to build bridges to President-Elect Donald Trump, or any others who they said misrepresents their faith. During daily prayer, the directive is clear, love and unity for all.

It was also a year ago when President-Elect Trump made comments that he planned to ban all Muslim immigration into the United States ,in response to the Paris terrorist attacks. He has since modified his stance on Muslim immigration. But faith groups are uniting in Connecticut around a message of inclusion.

“Is President-Elect going to unify us or create strife and unrest?” Mannan asked. “We’re hoping and praying we can work with him in goodness and for peace and justice for all. Because we are the United States and we hope to stay united.”

.The Hartford Seminary released a statement reading in part: “Now, more than ever, we are aware of the importance of interreligious education… We are redoubling our efforts and our commitment to education leadership in a culturally and racially diverse, mulit-religious country and world.”

President-Elect trump said in his first 100 days that he will “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.” There is no stipulation of which areas are considered terror prone — or what exactly extreme vetting means.

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