Arab and Muslim community expresses sympathy for victims of Colorado shooting

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Arab and Muslim community leaders in Colorado on Tuesday expressed sympathy to the families of the 10 victims of a mass shooting and sentenced the suspect, identified as a 21-year-old Syrian American immigrant with health problems. personal and mental health.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, of Arvada, Colo., Has been charged with 10 counts of murder for shootings, including buyers between the ages of 20 and 65, and a Boulder police officer who was killed when he responded to the sound of gunfire.

The announcement of the shooter’s identity sparked a social media backlash against Arab and Muslim extremism.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Boulder Police said Al-Issa walked into the King Soopers supermarket in the south of the city on Monday at 2:40 p.m. and began shooting at random customers. They are still investigating the motive for the murders.

Leaders of the Colorado Muslim Leadership Council, which represents 26 Muslim organizations in the state, told Arab News, “The Colorado Muslim Leadership Council and its affiliates mourn with our community. Our hearts are heavy as we stand with the survivors of the violence. We will continue to remember and mourn the innocent victims of this horrific and senseless crime. “

The victims were identified as Danny Strong, 20, Nevin Stanisic, 23, Rikki Olds, 25, Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Teri Leiker, 51, Suzanne Fountain, 59, Eric Talley, 51, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.

Talley, a former Boulder police officer, was familiar with the Arab and Muslim community, executives said.

The council statement added: “We are devastated by his death. We thank the police for their bravery and their commitment to apprehending the shooter. We call for the prosecution of the shooter to the fullest extent of the law.

“Finally, we look forward to working with Colorado leaders on actions to make our state a safer place for everyone. “

Council leaders urged the public to support families by donating to the Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, the Colorado Healing Fund and the Community Foundation of Boulder County.

According to media reports, Al-Issa immigrated to the United States at the age of three and then studied computer engineering at Metropolitan State University in Denver.

He was injured in the leg during a shootout with the police who arrived at the grocery store.

In his social media posts, Al-Issa complained about former US President Donald Trump and his policy towards Muslims, and claimed he was a victim of racism and Islamophobia.

More than 60,000 refugees have settled in Colorado, including around 300 who escaped ongoing violence in Syria.

Police said many shooting victims were at the store to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Palestinian-American Iman Jodeh, elected last year as the first legislative member of the Muslim state of Colorado, expressed condolences to the families of the victims and called for gun control reform.

“We in Aurora know this pain all too well. We send our love to our fellow Coloradans in Boulder. I know words can seem futile in the wake of terror, trauma and loss of life. Beyond love, I am determined to continue the fight for reasonable firearms reform, ”she said on her Facebook page.

In a wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiments posted on social media, Al-Issa has been called a “terrorist” and “jihadist”.

In a tweet, right-wing conspiracy theorist and writer Mike Cernovich said, “The Boulder, Colorado terrorist was known to the FBI before the shooting. The FBI chose not to act, as with the Pulse nightclub shooter (in Orlando, Florida). The FBI must be immediately disbanded.

Additionally, in a tweet, Errol Webber, an African American running for governor from California, said: “The 10 people shot and killed in Colorado were white. The killer, a Muslim jihadist from Syria. I am waiting for the left to launch its next hashtag movement and press tour vehemently denouncing racism against whites.

Webber was referring to the mass murder of eight women on March 16 by a gunman at several spas and massage parlors in Atlanta. Officials across America have denounced the massacre as an example of growing anti-Asian racism, noting that six of the victims were Asians.

US President Joe Biden said he was “devastated” by the carnage, the seventh mass shooting to take place in the country this year.

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