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Faith leaders show support for Colorado Muslims

Posted at 1:09 PM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 15:09:37-05

Dozens of pastors, priests, rabbis and faith leaders signed a letter of support for Colorado Muslims following recent "disrespectful rhetoric."

The Colorado Iman Council published the letter, which calls for turning the atmosphere of fear into an atmosphere of love.

At the Colorado Muslim Society in Denver, members fill the mosque for evening prayers and the discussion turns to politics.

"I think my first reaction was initial shock to be honest with you," said Iman Jodeh, executive director and co-founder of Meet the Middle East, in response to Donald Trump's latest proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. "I was simply afraid for not only my safety but for those that I know and I love. "

Jodeh said Trump's idea is anti-American, unconstitutional and scary, especially for Muslim woman who are often targets of anti-Muslim acts. "The result of that is a lot of women have made conscious decisions not to go out in public anymore," said Jodeh, who said they are planning a self-defense class for Muslim women who are afraid of being assaulted. "His rhetoric and his policies are very contradictory to what this nation was built on on, what our founding fathers wanted this nation to stand for and what our constitution stands for."

"Definitely it causes a fear in the community," said Muzaffar Shah, the president of the Colorado Muslim Society, in response to Trump's rhetoric. "But every day people are coming here, writing emails saying 'We support you.'"

"I was really humbled," said Shah. "I feel so emotional sometimes when people express their feelings towards us. It means so much to me after living in the United States for 30 years. I would say love each other. Love your neighbor. That's what our religion teaches us."

Meanwhile, Ismahan Afrah, 17, says she has never experienced discrimination.

As a senior at Cherry Creek's Overland High School, born and raised in the United States, she will vote for the first time next year.

"When I hear someone say they want to ban, basically, my family, it's kind of hard to see what they want to do to this country and why banning a group of people would better [for] this country," said Afrah. "I am glad I live in Colorado."

Meanwhile, Jodeh said Trump is misguided and misinformed about Islam.

Any religion — Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam -- we’ve all had our violent pasts," she said. "Nonetheless that’s not what we’re rooted in. And that is not the values we believe in. The root word for Islam is peace."

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