“I heard the news and I'm like oh gosh: not another terrorist attack, and then I was praying, please don't let it be a Muslim,” explained W.N.Y. Muslims Project Manager, Amber Shaikh.
So you can imagine Shaikh was upset when she learned otherwise. “It's just sad to hear that our religion gets mixed into this.”
Local law enforcement officials said they work hard to maintain positive relationships with the Muslim community. That includes the “Bridges Program,” which has been around since 2004. It allows federal prosecutors, police agencies, and Muslims to keep an open dialogue about possible issues here in Western New York. “We meet early and often to discuss issues of concern or things that might be on the minds of local law enforcement or the public,” said U.S. Attorney, William Hochul.
That's why Shaikh said she doesn't think Donald Trump’s comments, or the latest terror attacks in New York City and New Jersey will impact local police--community relations. However, she does worry about possible backlash from members of the community. “There's been a lot of discrimination against Muslims. Verbal, physical discrimination and vandalism of mosques. I just hear about it all the time and it's very sad how people lump all Muslims together.”
For more information on WNY Muslims, click here.