AUSTIN, Texas - Members of Austin's Muslim community came forward Tuesday to condemn acts of terrorism by religious radicals. They met at police headquarters with Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo who also spoke out against hate speech on social media and on talk radio.
It was a show of unity. Muna Hussaini with Nueces Mosque of Austin said they want the community to know they are regular people doing regular things like everyone else in Austin. Hussaini was joined Tuesday by others from Austin's Muslim community to condemn radicals who claim to be followers of the same faith.
"So in the plainest terms, because I keep hearing this and seeing this over and over, let me just say with no doubt, the Muslim community of Austin is horrified by the atrocities that have been committed in the name of Islam," said Hussaini.
The harshest words to describe Islamic radicals came from retired cardiologist Syed Akhtar. He argued the Prophet Mohammed had a message of compassion.
"Mohammed is the role model for Muslims, unfortunately the groups out there, ISIS, ISIL, Taliban, and many more, did not know all this I said here, they are like ignorant fools they are the scum," said Akhtar.
This gathering was organized by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo who met earlier in the morning with local church pastors.
"And my challenge was to them was not know the neighbor you know, across the street, not to know the neighbor next to you, across from you, but to know the neighbor across the city, my challenge to them was get to know the neighbor they don't know," said Chief Acevedo.
The Chief's call for unity comes after an incident last week at the state capitol. The brief hi-jacking of the annual Muslim day celebration included heckling from a small but vocal anti-Muslim group. The heated rhetoric- according to Chief Acevedo - has also spilled over into social media and on talk radio. Tuesday - he did not back away from the criticism that's targeted him.
"For those of you who want to hate this Police Chief, this police department, for standing here today, guilty as charged," said the Chief.
During the afternoon drive time- the chief got blasted again on talk radio for being too preachy. Some of those who called into KLBJ said the Chief should have provided more details about any alleged threats that have been made again the Muslim community.