SHAFAQNA Â -Â While local Muslim Americans markÂ Ramadan and celebrate Independence Day, they also say theyâ€™re being vigilant amid terror warnings this weekend.
Shafaqna spoke to members of a mosque in Granada Hills as they wereÂ breaking the dayâ€™s Ramadan fast. During this month-longÂ period of reflection, Muslims fast during daylight hours to purify the soul, refocus attention on God and practice self-sacrifice.
SomeÂ members of the congregation are disappointed Ramadan coincides with July 4 this year because they may miss on some of the holiday fun.
â€œReally, Independence Day is whatâ€™s on my mind, for the most part. I grew up in this country so Independence Day is always a big thing,â€ Muslim American Faisal Mirza said. â€œItâ€™s a little bit tougher because I canâ€™t eat during the day, so that rules out all the barbeques â€“ which is really the thing that hurts me the most.â€
This year is especially difficult for American Muslims, who say theyâ€™re concerned that warnings about a possible Fourth of JulyÂ terrorist attack and the fears that follow may cast them in a bad light.
â€œItâ€™s a test for a lot of Muslims, because our religion preaches peace,â€ Muslim American Tariq Shaik said. â€œAny type of terrorist activity, God forbid if anything was to happen, it goes against what our religion really preaches.â€
Muslim American Syed Adnan Kazi added, â€œItâ€™s pretty unfortunate that people think all Muslims are the same. Unfortunately, some Americans think that way. So our job and our goal is to tell everybody: Weâ€™re not like that. Weâ€™re Muslims Americans. We live here. This is our country. We contribute to society.â€
The mosque falls under theÂ districtÂ of Congressman Brad Sherman, who met with Muslim leaders earlier Friday. Â He said the discussion was not about terrorism warnings this weekend, stressing thatÂ theÂ concerns of his Muslim constituentsÂ areÂ the same as everyone elseâ€™s.
â€œThe fact is that there are millions of Muslims here in the United States, tens of thousands here in the San Fernando Valley, and these are our fellow citizens, these are Americans,â€ Sherman said.
The congressmanÂ said ISIS has made it very clear â€“ it would like nothing better than to trigger a worldwide religious war, turning Christians and Muslims against one another. And he says it is crucial that we not allow that to happen.
â€œThe big headlines are the big headlines,â€ Sherman shrugged, adding, â€œThe fact is, weâ€™re here in the San Fernando Valley and we get along.â€