Muslim community reacts to chemical, missile attacks in Syria

The United States has launched 59 missiles at a Syrian air base after a chemical weapons attack. (Source: CNN)
The United States has launched 59 missiles at a Syrian air base after a chemical weapons attack. (Source: CNN)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Muslim community in Charleston is banding together following the events this week which left dozens of men, women, and children dead in Syria.

Thursday evening President Donald Trump issued an order to launch missiles on a Syrian airbase, which reportedly dropped chemicals on civilians Tuesday.

At a prayer service Friday afternoon at the Central Mosque of Charleston, congregation members offered up their prayers and thoughts to Syrian families dealing with the tragedy.

"It was a very heinous attack, and very shocking to see something like this is happening in the 21st century," said Dr. Ghazala Javed, a senior member of the congregation.

"[It's] very sad to see what happened," said Kamil Mohamed, another member. "A lot of kids got killed."

More than 70 Syrian civilians including adults and children were killed Tuesday.

In response, President Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles to be fired from ships in the Mediterranean Sea around 8:40 p.m. Eastern time at the Al-Shayrat Airbase in central Syria.

"We definitely support President Trump's actions," said Amer Mahmood, President of the Central Mosque of Charleston. "We are happy to see there was a step forward."

Mahmood said there are a few Syrian families who are part of the congregation, however none attended prayer service Friday.

"I have friends and have talked to them," Mahmood said. "It has been going on for a very long time in Syria and we are just praying for the better resolution."

While the missile attack has people worldwide talking for and against it, Mohamed said it's way overdue.

"It's coming very, very late," he said. "We should have... if we had got this earlier, 2014, 2015... we shouldn't have gotten to this point today."

"Something needed to be done," Javed added. "I'm looking forward to some positive things coming out, and the end of evil and rise of good hopefully."

The congregation has done things in the past to try and support the families overseas. Now with these latest attacks, some members of the mosque are turning elsewhere.

"All I can do is ask God to stop this killing in that region and the whole world," Mohamed said.

Friday morning the country of Bolivia requested an emergency United Nations Security meeting to discuss the events in Syria.

A statement from U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley reads in part:

"It asked for the discussion to be held in closed session. The United States, as president of the Council this month, decided the session would be held in the open. Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear."

Several countries including the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia gave their support to the United States' missile attack Thursday night. Russia and Iran voiced criticism and concern.

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