Members of Omar Mateen’s mosque face threats

World Today

While investigators look for a motive in the Pulse nightclub shooting, others are looking for someone to blame. The backlash from the Orlando shooting is putting some in the Muslim community on edge, and Omar Mateen’s mosque is now facing threats.

CCTV’s Steve Mort reports from Orlando. Follow Steve Mort on Twitter @mobilemort

Members of Omar Mateen\'s mosque face threats

Members of Omar Mateen\'s mosque face threats

While investigators look for a motive, others are looking for someone to blame.

Mateen is reported to have prayed in a small mosque nestled in the heart of historic Fort Pierce, a sleepy town two hours south of Orlando, just a day before his rampage at the Pulse nightclub.

Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman led Friday prayers at the mosque amid ongoing backlash following the Orlando shooting.

“There’ve been people driving by the mosque hurling insults,” Omar Salah, attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said. “And quite frankly the community is scared.”

Moner Mohammad Abu Salha, thought to be the first American suicide bomber in Syria, also attended the same mosque.

“We understand everything that happens,” Frederick Cole, member of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, said. “It’s obviously a tragedy. But it shouldn’t reflect on the entire community here because you have a lot of good people.”

The Orlando shooter attended this mosque for several years. But members of the Muslim community here have condemned the shooting rampage and insist they were unaware that Mateen harbored a radical ideology.

Imam Muhammed Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, said responding to signs of radicalization is a challenge facing other Muslim leaders in the United States.

“I try to help them process this anger, this frustration, with that’s happening in the world,” Musri said.

Musri dismisses claims Islam itself is to blame for the Orlando attack, instead pointing to an emerging picture of Mateen as troubled and unstable.

“If it is a person with a Muslim name we call it terrorism, we highlight it, we talk about it,” Musri said. “If it is a person who is Christian, you know, who is white, we say he’s just mentally ill.”

Musri admited Islamic scripture does not approve of homosexuality, but said that does not excuse Mateen’s actions.

Meanwhile, local Muslim leaders said they are cooperating with law enforcement as they continue to investigate what motivated the Orlando shooter.

  • UnitedWest

    Imam Musri used these same tired lines against Rifqa Bary who left Islam, converted to Christianity, was then threatened with death by her parents, eventually running away here to Orlando. Rifqa was valedictorian of her class yet Imam Musri called Rifqa and now Mateen as troubled and unstable.

    Meanwhile in a video Musri was on tape blaming the United States for radicalizing Muslim youth resulting in 9/11 and in 2009 held a Hamas fundraiser with George Galloway at his Mosque.

    Imam Musri may be soft spoken, gentle, and effeminate in mannerisms but that does not hide the liar within. Omar Mateen was an Islamic State Jihadist who was not unstable but the exact opposite. He was fully committed to Islamic Jihad and carried out his attack on the softest, gun free zone target he found after 1 1/2 years of casing many targets including Disney World.

    This what not a criminal act – it was an act of war perpetrated on innocent American citizens at a nightclub timed perfectly at right before closing.

    It sickens me to see the Muslim community in virtual lockstep with each other making themselves out to be the victims with this mythical backlash that in no way remotely even resembles the stack of dead and wounded bodies the Islamic State Jihadist Mateen left in his wake in Orlando.

    Imam Musri and his ilk would be much better served cleaning up their house of those Jihadis not practicing the often repeated true and peaceful Islam than attacking us innocent Americans of being a threat to Muslims. Imam Musri you are like the boy who cried wolf one too many times and people are starting to take notice.

  • Bojwon

    Christians are not killing people in the name of Jesus Christ. Christians are not teaching their children that Homosexuals should be killed. Imams ARE teaching and preaching that Homosexuals should be killed, so when Homosexuals ARE killed, why should the civilized world NOT look at Imams and their mosque members with suspicion? …. Especially those Imams and mosques that can be connected to shooters and their associates.

    Imam Rahman thinks it’s enough to simply condemn the shooting – It’s not. The ideology that promotes these barbaric acts is what needs to be condemned. Condemn the ideology of The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, ISIS, and other groups who support and promote the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhhod. If Imam Rahman is not willing to openly and publicly condemn the terrorists ideology BY NAME, he and all the Muslims who stand with him, deserve all the suspicion and hate they get. IF, and I say “IF” Jihad is your way, and dying in the way of Allah is your highest hope, don’t come bitchin’ about any insults hurled in your direction – You deserve them!
    Proud to sign my name!
    Roger Gangitano

  • Damon

    Hey Imam Musri, Ever hear of the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”? After dozens of violent attacks by your fellow mohammedans on innocent Americans we hear the same sob story about “backlash” against the muslim community. Guess what, you are crying wolf!! Before the bodies are buried you seem to have made the muslim community out to be the “real victims” of the jihad attacks, despite not spilling one drop of blood. A little bacon on the door knob of a mosque is NOT terrorism, & certainly does not compare to the line of dead bodies created by your co-religionists. (if you can truly call islam a religion is debatable) Do not accuse the American people of possessing the same violent tendencies as the people that practice your violent religion.

  • Ron

    Hello Imam Musri, what would the backlash against the muslim community be if black people knew that an estimated 3,446 African blacks were killed by the Ku Klux Klan from 1882 to 1964. The total membership of the KKK over the span of these 84 years was approximately 6 million, assuming no single Klansman ever killed more than one black, it can be statistically stated that well over 99% of the Ku Klux Klan’s members, never harmed any blacks, and were peaceful, or “Moderate Members of the Klan”. In 1400 years of the Quran endorced, Islam sanctioned, muslim perpetrated, slave trade, more than 110 million African blacks were killed. Why is one of these ideologies of institutionalized subjugation and hate, vilified and denounced, while the other is given legitimacy and the title of Religion of Peace ?

  • Carrie Storm

    Imam Musri’s remarks which complain about a perceived backlash from the non-Muslim community lack substance and credibility. He acknowledges that the Muslim faith criticizes homosexuality but denies that the faith encourages putting homosexuals to death as punishment. In fact, the Quer’an REQUIRES and SUGGESTS that the punishment for homosexuals is death. Homosexuals are thrown off high buildings, beheaded and stoned to death in countries where Sharia law is the law of the land. Only about two months ago an Iranian scholar and cleric preached at a local Sanford mosque, both to the mosque members and online, that it is merciful and compassionate to kill homosexuals because then Allah will forgive them once they are put to death. He continued his talk saying that is the way to get rid of them and that there was nothing to be embarrassed about how they are to be dealt with. Sheik Sekaleshfar was INVITED to speak at the mosque by the imam. The imam when questioned by the Channel Nine reporter who did the story, said that there was nothing wrong with what Shekaleshfar said and was completely unapologetic.

    Imam Musri is well acquainted with the Muslim way of dealing with homosexuals whenever Sharia law is enforced and his remarks are intended to draw attention away from the truth. The majority of terrorist attacks in the world and in the United States are those involving Muslims, either individuals or groups. Musri complains that Muslim communities are being harassed. Why is it that no Muslim group or imam has turned in anyone who appears to be “radicalized” Why does Musri give lip service to his outrage while trying to turn attention away from the fact that he has raised money at his mosque for Hamas and Hezbollah, two terrorist organizations? If he did not agree with the violence, then why would he support two organizations that promote and commit terrorism?

    What a coincidence that two terrorist individuals attended the same mosque in Fort Pierce. I wonder what the odds are that those two members of the mosque simply were anomalies and were not encouraged or influenced by anyone connected with the mosque. How incredibly odd and coincidental. It is time the Muslim communities stopped complaining about ‘backlash’ and start standing up and policing themselves of their ranks if they really care or want to stop such atrocities from happening. How about reforming Islam and get rid of Sharia law. Stop pretending that Sharia law does not demand such barbaric behavior and denounce what Sharia law proscribes.

  • Barry Fernandez

    I have to ask, how many gay Muslims attend this mosque? How many openly gay Muslims attend ANY mosque? Fact is they would be shown the door and the Imam would preach how they should be killed out of compassion. It’s this kind of rhetoric that inspired Muteen. He wasn’t “homegrown” or “lone-wolf” No. He is the product of Islamic doctorine as taught in every single mosque in Florida and around the world.

    When you say “these are good people” do you mean “good Muslims”? Muteen was a good Muslim.

  • Ron

    Imam Musri, the minds of western people, not familiar with the teachings from the Quran, Hadith, or Islam, can not begin to comprehend the motivations behind these sadly frequent events. They out of western ignorance mistakenly attribute to these bloody heinous acts to HATE. Please Mr. Musri as an Islamic scholar correct this ignorance with holy scripture from your Quran so they all will know this is JIHAD, the religious DUTY of muslims. Omar Mateen had no hate in his heart, just duty to the word of his, and your God, Allah. If you won’t I’m sure other Imam guest speakers at your mosque in front of muslim only audiences and no media cameras or microphones will.

  • Mike

    Islam was created by a writer who took distorted stories from the torah, christian writings and syrian origins. It contains false history, false science and the oldest portions of its texts predate the alleged pedifile Mohammed. The oldest texts found Yemen are three different versions.