A film mocking the prophet Muhammad has sparked outrage and violent attacks overseas. But many Muslims in mid-Missouri are condemning the violence as well.
Friday prayer in Columbia’s Islamic Center on Fifth Street. Hundreds of Muslims have gathered to hear the words of their imam.
This is two days after the American ambassador to Libya was killed by angry protesters. They were upset over a movie insulting their prophet, Muhammad.
Chairman of the Islamic Center, Dr. Rashed Nizam, condemns the violent protests and the murders.
“We are shocked to hear that," Nizam says. "This is an inexcusable crime. Somebody that kills somebody. And a Muslim like him, he was friendly to Libyan people; he was very helpful to Libyan people. But regardless, you shouldn’t kill anybody."
But Dr. Nizam is not surprised that a movie that mocks Muhammad caused such massive protests.
“Muslims love their Prophet, Prophet Muhammad — peace be upon him — too much, more than anything else in this world," Nizam says. "Probably they overreacted, but again at the same time when it comes to the Prophet they do anything to defend him, to defend the fame."
Aamer Trambu is an MBA student at MU and practicing Muslim. He says he is frustrated by the violent attacks.
“They only represent a very small percentage of Muslims, whereas there is a lot of Muslims on Facebook and everywhere else condemning the attacks and violence," Trambu says. "And I think that is a very good response to this situation.”
But he does understand why some Muslims are outraged by the movie
"If someone makes a video and biased and bigoted and has a very negative message, you try to understand that they are really angry, and feel the need to stand up," Trambu says.
And despite the recent violence, Trambu says he hasn’t had any negative experiences as a Muslim in Missouri.
“Fortunately in a city like Columbia I find it very conferrable to be a Muslim. I have never faced any sort of labeling or targeting or discrimination," Trambu says.
As the Friday prayer is over and people leave the Islamic Center, both Trambu and Nizam hope the violent protests soon will come to an end.