TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - The massacre in New Zealand is having a ripple effect and is being felt in the Bay Area.
“These acts of terror against innocent people regardless of faith or color or background should be condemned by all of us. We should stand together against hatred and bigotry,” said Bilal Saleh with the Islamic Society of New Tampa.
Saleh says educating others is the first step in stopping these kinds of heinous acts.
“I would ask my non-Muslim friends and colleagues and coworkers and community members to come visit us at the mosque, to know your Muslim neighbor. I think that would bridge the gap,” he said.
Friday, law enforcement across the Bay Area stepped up patrols at local mosques. They are concerned about copycats inspired by the shooting that claimed 49 innocent lives.
“We stopped by and had conversations with people at the mosques to see if they've heard anything or seen anything and we've gotten a good reception they' appreciate the fact that we've come out,” said Tampa Police Department spokesperson Steve Hegarty.
Saleh says while the recent attacks will not intimidate his community, he does worry the violence and rhetoric is only getting worse.
“We just need to be persistent and act with kindness even with those who hate us and that’s how we've been dealing with these issues in general,” he said.
On Sunday, the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay is holding an interfaith vigil in honor of the attack victims. It will be held from 2-4 p.m. at the Daarus Salaam Mosque, located at 15830 Morris Bridge Road in Thonotosassa.
The public is invited to attend.