Gainesville Muslim leaders respond to New Zealand mosque attacks


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    Every Friday Muslims gather here at the Hoda Center in Gainesville for prayer, but for many attending, today is a somber day.

    Gainesville resident, Saeed Khan, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

    “This thing can happen anywhere whoever thought of Christ Church in New Zealand would be a place where 49 people would be murdered in daylight," said Saeed Khan.

    As soon as he woke up this morning, Khan said he had messages from different religious leaders across the city, “so it’s kind of nice to be living in a community like Gainesville that we have that kind of a support here.”

    Khan wasn’t the only one surprised to hear what happened, “sadly enough New Zealand is one of the most peaceful parts of our world and now it has been polluted with blood," said Ahmed Elmahdawy, the founder of the Hoda Center.

    Elmahdawy said he feels safe in Gainesville.

    “There is nothing better than Gainesville it is really a model for the rest of the world," Elmahdawy said.

    Although other mosques may be thinking about increasing security, Elmahdawy said they will not be doing that.

    “Criminals have a way to penetrate and therefore we are peaceful and we will continue to be as such.”

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