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Huntsville Muslim community explains how their religion promotes peace, not violence

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- The nation, and community of Chattanooga, are mourning the loss of four Marines after an active shooter situation Thursday.

Police say they were able to take down the suspected lone gunman, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez.  In reports unconfirmed by WHNT News 19, Abdulazeez claimed to be a follower of Islam.

Local Muslim leaders here tell WHNT News 19 that his actions are not a reflection on their faith. Being so close to Chattanooga in distance, and in faith, many Muslims here in Huntsville have true connections to the Muslim community in Tennessee. And they say their hearts are hurting, too. But what their religion teaches is nothing like the atrocities that killed those four Marines.

"We are Muslims, but we are also Americans," explained Nauman Qureshi, President of the Huntsville Islamic Center. "It really hurts when something like this happens, whoever commits such an act."

He explained that Islam is based on peace, something that was certainly missing from the incident in Chattanooga.

"The message in Islam is peace. Peace amongst Muslims, and peace with people of other beliefs," he said. "So when somebody doses something like this, all I can say is there is something that has gone wrong."

He says the typical celebration that marked Friday, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, has been marred by sadness because of what happened outside the military recruitment centers.  At their festivities earlier Friday, the Huntsville Islamic Center actually requested more police security than usual. We're told it's to protect their families in the wake of the Chattanooga shooting.