American Muslims call for unity, peace at Orlando rally

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SHAFAQNA- Farah Felo spent Saturday asking others, including Donald Trump supporters, to accept her religion and remember one of America’s best qualities.

“I think it’s important to show that America’s for diversity,” said Felo, a University of Central Florida student. “We accept everyone of all races, all religions.”

That acceptance, the 19-year-old said, is what “makes America great.”

She was one of nearly 500 people to attend the United We Stand for Peace Rally at Lake Eola Park. The event was organized by American Islam, a national muslim organization, and the Islamic Society of Central Florida.

Mere hours before Muslim Americans gathered in downtown Orlando, Trump, who’s called for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,”held a rally at UCF.

The peace rally was planned before Trump announced his event, said Bassem Chaaban, director of outreach for American Islam.

“We were actually there this morning just to show our support to the peace members of the community,” he said.

Chaaban said the peace rally focused on a unified message of peace and community.

Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, he said, is tearing apart the nation.

“It does not send the right message about America and its values and principles,” said Chaaban.

Imam Muhammad Musri, president of American Islam, told rally attendees that Muslims and Islam are being misunderstood and incorrectly linked to acts of terrorism like the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Muslims have condemned those who commit such horrific acts in the name of their religion, said Musri.

“Terrorism has no religion,” he said. “Terrorism is anti-religion.”

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