Islamic group schedules rally, prayer vigil to remember 9/11

Local Muslims and members of the interfaith community will gather Saturday to "rally for peace" and pray for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place nine years ago.

The rally and prayer vigil will begin at noon in front of the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

The Islamic Society of Nevada for eight years has held a 9/11 prayer vigil at a Las Vegas mosque but decided it was important this year to make the event more public, said Aslam Abdullah, the group’s director.

"We have to come out and demonstrate to people that we are no different than they are in condemning terrorism."

Controversy over a proposal to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque near the ground zero site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City has inflamed anti-Muslim sentiment, he said. And media attention on a Florida minister’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday has helped perpetuate unfair representations of Islam, he said.

"A general impression is being created that Muslims can’t be trusted, are unpatriotic and do not belong here," Abdullah said.

Karen Boyett, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, which plans to participate in Saturday’s rally, said she is troubled by the misinformation that those such as the Florida pastor are able to spread.

"The media can really do a better job of focusing on the parts of our culture and community that support pluralism and not fringe people who have so much misunderstanding and ignorance," Boyett said. "As a religious person, it’s my obligation to stand up for people who are being oppressed for their religion."

Abdullah hopes Saturday’s event will help show the Muslim community "as a peaceful community that stands against terrorism."

About 100 people are expected to attend.

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