INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A mass shooting in New Zealand at two mosques felt personal to many in the Muslim community in central Indiana. They said it has shaken them, but some were not really surprised it happened.
“We are all devastated,” said Faryal Khatri, board member of Muslim Alliance of Indiana.
Khatri was heartbroken going to afternoon prayers on Friday. She was worshiping just like dozens of others in New Zealand before 50 people were gunned down.
“We are reliving those moments before those worshipers had gotten shot,” said Khatri.
She said she was not very surprised the attacks happened though. Two years ago, the Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield was vandalized. Hurtful, offensive words were spray painted on the building.
Last month, a man was accused of shooting and killing Mustafa Ayoubi. Some in the Muslim community want it investigated as a hate crime.
“Unless we can give protection to all, no one will be safe,” said Azher Khan, board member of Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network.
Khan called for a tougher hate crime bill after a water-downed version passed in the State Senate. He even met with state lawmakers on Thursday.
“The rest of the states have that protection for minorities, so why can’t ours have that?” he said.
In the meantime, the Indianapolis Muslim community is trying to remain strong, as armed Marion County deputies guard their place of worship. They hope it will remain a safe space to come to.
“I think it is heavy on a lot of people’s minds and something on my mind,” said Khatri.
The Muslim Alliance of Indiana asked all places of worship to remain vigilant and enforce extra security measures for all services.