WNY Muslim Group: Don't Generalize Suspects of Violence

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Following the shooting in Charleston, a local group says it's time to change the way we classify those who commit these acts of violence. 

Julie Algubani says the group Western New York Muslims is sending prayers and condolences to those impacted by Wednesday's deadly shooting in Charleston, "We're disgusted every time something like this happens." 

But she said incidents like this highlight how different the discussions are surrounding certain suspects of violent acts.

"If they're a person of color, it's automatically labeled that they're a criminal, and if they're Muslim, they're automatically a terrorist, they're automatically, you know, radicalized, and the mosque they go to, all of that is broadcast," said Algubani, executive director of WNY Muslims. "People are being viewed with these labels across the board, whether it is the politicians, law enforcement, investigative reporters, it's happening everywhere."

Algubani said along with the labels come the generalizations. As a Muslim, she's experienced the backlash from those who believe stereotypes,

"Automatically, we're waiting for somebody to say something to us, we're waiting for something to happen, and believe it or not, this stuff happens all the time, locally, here, it happens."

Algubani thinks if some people are going to be profiled, everyone should; including Dylann Roof. 

"How much money did he spend at his church that he went to and which church was that?" she asked.

Algubani thinks the conversation needs to change, and the questions asked about a suspect shouldn't depend on their race or religion.

"People need to stop acting like there isn't an issue and we need to start asking these questions and find out why it's happening and make it stop."

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