Muslim leader talks about Islam’s place in Colorado community – Colorado News

Muslim leader talks about Islam’s place in Colorado community – Colorado News

AURORA, Colo. – Sitting at his desk at the Colorado Muslim Community Center — with a gym full of children shouting happily during a loud game of soccer right outside his door — Imam Karim AbuZaid doesn’t hesitate when asked what he hopes outsiders understand about the area’s growing Muslim population.

“Islam is not a cult,” AbuZaid said. “I think this is a very important thing that Americans need to realize.”

At a time when his faith is often under attack — a ban barring travel from several majority-Muslin countries remains tied up in court and reports of hate crimes against Muslims have climbed in recent months — AbuZaid said he is reaching out to non-Muslims hoping to squelch any fears they may have about he and his community.

Whether it’s by forging relationships with local police, hosting regular open houses at the center or loudly condemning terror attacks, AbuZaid said he hopes he can alleviate the anxiety some feel about the region’s Muslim population.

TOO MANY DON’T KNOW

Too many in Aurora and the metro area just don’t know, and he and others want to change that.

“We have to be proactive about going out there and talking to them and letting them know, ‘I am OK,’” he said.

And all of that comes at the same time local leaders, including AbuZaid, have to fend off the occasional accusation that they are “extremists,” accusations lobbed even as AbuZaid condemns every terror attack that makes headlines.

Local leaders estimate Colorado’s Muslim population, which…

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