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Local Muslim community concerned after plot uncovered to attack mosque near Binghamton

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 January 2019 at 7:18 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Colonna walks out of a Muslim prayer house on Fuller Road in Carlton with Bilal Huzair, Jacob Zimmerman (left) and David Bell (in back). Colonna urged the group if they “see something, say something” in regards to suspicious activity directed towards the community.

WATERPORT – About 100 members of a mosque in Waterport are feeling on edge after a plot was discovered against a Muslim community near Binghamton.

The nearby Greece Police Department arrested four people in an apparent planned terrorist attack against a small Muslim community near Binghamton. The four Rochester-area males, ages 16 to 20, face felony charges of weapons possession and conspiracy after they were found with 23 guns and three homemade bombs.

“Whenever we see it in the news we can’t help but be concerned about our community and our families,” said David Bell, a member of the mosque.

The local Muslim community is part of the World Sufi Foundation. They have had a prayer house in Waterport on Fuller Road the past 40 years and a mosque on West Avenue in Medina. The group has been targeted before, with two crosses burned in the front lawn of the prayer house on Fuller Road. In 2010 shots were fired at the prayer house in Waterport, and five teen-agers were arrested.

Bilal Huzair, deputy director of the World Sufi Foundation, said local law enforcement has been very supportive of the Muslim community, taking any threats and actions against the members seriously.

Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Colonna met with Bilal and some of the World Sufi members today at the prayer house. He urged they to stay connected and to report any suspicious activity.

“If you see something, say something,” Colonna said, repeating a mantra of community policing.

Bell said the most of local residents and churches in the Orleans County are very welcoming and supportive of the community.

Huzair said the local Muslims are proud Americans who enjoy their community in Orleans County. He was saddened to see that the four people arrested in Greece were planning such a destructive act.

“This divisiveness has to end,” he said. “We don’t have time for this junk.”

Huzair issued this statement on behalf of the World Sufi Foundation:

“We the people of Waterport, New York and Orleans County hereby declare that America has no place for Fascists or Neo-Nazis. In light of the recent apprehension of Fascists in possession of bombs and weapons, we are greatly appreciative of the men and women who risked their lives to avoid a catastrophe of epic proportions.

“This attempted attack on Americans living south of Binghamton, NY could have resulted in the disruption of the peace that all Americans are privileged to by the Constitution of this great nation of people.

“America is not a nation of just Republicans or Democrats or any other party. Americans are not white or black nor of any other race. We are not defined by our heritage or by our ethnicity.  We stand United by our Flag, which symbolizes the freedoms and liberties that we shall let no one remove from the toils of our forefathers. We condemn the actions of the few Fascists and stand with the men and women who defend our rights to practice our religion in peace.

“We acknowledge all the hard work by all members of law enforcement, both local and federal, even during this time of hardship by way of the government shutdown. We know that our President, Donald J. Trump, our Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen share the same sentiments expressed in this statement.

“We further thank the local and national media for bringing this crime to light and exposing this deviant and abhorrent attempt by these Fascists to disrupt the peaceful life of all Americans. To save one life is to save all Humanity.”

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