Houston-area Muslims stand together following New Zealand massacre

KATY, Texas (FOX 26) — The Muslim community in Houston and the surrounding area continues to stand together following the deadly mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques where 49 people were killed.

"It’s the same apprehension we had when we heard about Santa Fe, when we heard about the Pulse nightclub, you know, any of those," Mustafaa Carroll of CAIR Houston tells FOX 26 News. "You know we still have that apprehension, that we should be guarded, but we shouldn’t be so fearful that it stifles us from being us."

In January, the Muslim American Society Katy Center had someone shoot at their mosque. That man has never been captured. Since then, center leaders started working on security measures.

"We have been working on improving the security infrastructure, two up with the cameras so that we could catch things happening around and we have been working to have armed security officers here more often than earlier, and we are also working with the precinct office here so that they can control our area more,” says Yaser Irfan, who works with operations at the center.

Nafisa Munshi, who works with youth outreach at the center, says many members, including children, were distraught over the shootings.

One child “...was also just shaken up and he was like, 'Why, why do people hate us so much?,'” describes Munshi. "Some of them are crying, some of them were sad, but I think more people came today.”

Munshi adds that she just had to gather her strength and told people in the community that they need to put their trust in their faith. She also wants to encourage people of other faiths to get to know Muslims.

"People who actually don’t understand Us, or fear us, I want to tell them please come, come and get to know us," says Munshi. "Get to know what Islam is all about."

Members of the center say that so far the community has been great, reaching out to them, and offering their support.