Mayor stands with Muslims, preaching unity

Mayor Bob Buckhorn joined leaders of Tampa's interfaith community this afternoon to show support for the Muslim community in the wake of allegations that local Muslims are being targeted.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says two Muslim women in Hillsborough County were recently victims of hate crimes. 

The first incident supposedly involved a Muslim woman being chased and cut off by another driver, who then threw rocks at her and at one point, got out of his car and threatened to "cut" her.  The second incident reportedly involved another Muslim woman who was shot at while driving away from the Islamic Center in Tampa.

The Tampa Police Department has said they are only aware of the second incident, and that many facts are still unclear.

But recent terror attacks in Paris and California have increased threats to Muslim groups across the country, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn joined other community leaders to proclaim Tampa as an inclusive, tolerant city.

"We worship different gods. But in this community, we celebrate and honor that diversity as something that makes us special, that makes us unique, that makes us more competitive," he said.  "As long as I'm the mayor of this community, we will never, ever demonize anybody based on race or creed or color or ethnicity or the god you worship or who you love.  It is not going to happen on my watch."

Local Muslims also took the opportunity to condemn the violence being committed in the name of Islam.

"We're here as brothers, business owners, fathers, neighbors, and we're here to stay.  Being a patriotic American citizen isn't just sitting behind a computer and going along with the hate.  It's trying to combat the hate with peace and love and to bring everybody together as a community as a whole," Zachary Adam Choudhury stated.

"Anyone who kills innocent people is not a god-fearing person, is not a real Muslim or Christian or Jew."