CAPE CORAL, Fla. — As the ongoing conflict in the Middle East continues, members of the Muslim community in Southwest Florida are coming together to support one another through a period of fear and uncertainty. FOX 4 visited local mosques and spoke with an Islamic rights attorney to gain insight into the war's impact on the local Muslim population.
Ahmed Khan, a civil rights attorney and member of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), expressed concern over the recent tragic incident in Chicago involving a young boy of the Muslim faith.
"There's a good amount of fear, about it, especially with what happened in Chicago about the 6-year-old boy who was killed, and that fear has trickled down to Southwest Florida."
CAIR works to represent individuals who face discrimination due to their religious beliefs.
"We represent Muslim sisters who wear the hijab or the head covering where, in the worst-case scenarios, where their hijab is physically torn off of them," Khan said.
While these cases have occurred in other parts of Florida, Khan assured us that he has not seen similar crimes or cases here.
"Fortunately for us here in Southwest Florida, we have not had such levels of crimes happen against Muslims here," Khan explained.
Other members of the Islamic community echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that they have not faced increased discrimination since the conflict began earlier this month.
Jerry Moore, founder of the Cape Coral Islamic Center said,
"In Southwest Florida, I don't think we have this tension. If this tension exists, I think that the Muslim community and the Jewish community are doing a good job in curbing any negativity."
"The Muslim community, we are your neighbors, we are your friends, we are your countrymen," said Khan. "We just have a different religion, but we're all brothers and sisters."
He also explained that Muslims are an integral part of Southwest Florida, working hand in hand with their neighbors of different faiths.