BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Comments by Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump suggesting that Muslims register and be put into a database has local Muslims very concerned.
"By saying there should be a database just reminds me of the Holocaust," said Amber Shaikh, a Muslim mother from Amherst who volunteers to help organizations like the Food Bank of WNY
"These comments can be nothing more than xenophobic, Islamophobic, and un-constitutional," added Montaha Rizeq, who works to help local Arab-Americans with legal and welfare issues.
"Taking people and putting them in a database is not going to make your country safer. It is no different than when we were spied on by our own government," commented Julie Algubani, Executive Director of WNY Muslims.
"My dad was a German Jew and he had the exact same thing happen to him," said Victoria Ross from the WNY Peace Center.
The Muslim community in Western New York was already feeling a backlash from the Paris terror attacks, a backlash that started after the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
"Somehow we all get automatically blamed," said Amber Shaikh.
Local Muslims are now trying to speak out to reassure the community that they are like everyone else and pose no threat.
"It is not just Westerns versus Middle-Easterns, or Muslims versus Christians or infidels, it is not that at all. Everyone is being affected," said Saba Al-Maani, a junior UB student who is an immigrant from Jordan.
Muslim organizations remind the public that ISIS has also killed large numbers of Muslims and destroyed mosques in its quest to gain power and control.
"Everything they do goes against everything that Islam teaches. It is a peaceful religion," explained Al-Maani.
The increasing anti-Muslim tone being expressed by some politicians, and through some media outlets, is also raising concerns of the Interfaith Peace Network of WNY and Network of Religious Communities.
"This has been a problem for years and it is only getting worse," said Victoria Ross, a consultant for the Interfaith Peace Network.
Those organizations are now trying to take urgent steps to increase education about Muslims and their positive contributions to society.
"It is very dangerous, very scary and very contrary to everything we say we believe in. So, let our actions follow what we say we believe in, and don't let fear take over," said Ross.
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