WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- Amber Shaikh reads a verse from the Quran, her Arabic roughly translates to a teaching about giving. It's a fitting verse for the holy month of Ramadan, a time to practice self-reflection and prayer.
"We should be doing our best. It's like Christmas time when Christians do their best and give charity, pray, go to church. This is a time when we should be doing good deeds,” said Shaikh, a project manager for WNY Muslims.
As the tragedy unfolded Sunday in Orlando, Muslims sat horrified as they learned a member of Islamic faith had committed the attack at Pulse Nightclub. Buffalo's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community President Nasir Kahn called it a crime against humanity.
"To be involved in such acts is clearly a violation of the highest decree,” said Kahn.
"We clamp up, we get really scared that, 'oh my gosh, people are going to assume we're all like that.' It's sad that some people are ignorant about these things," Shaikh said.
The word Islam in and of itself means safeness and peace, and Kahn finds it unfortunate the religion continues to be linked to such acts of extremism and violence. Western New York Muslims condemn the incident and add all groups should be respected.
"We as a community need to get together and show compassion - go out there, know the names of these victims and send out cards and prayers and whatever we can to help heal,” said Shaikh.
Khan explained the Ahmadiyya community in Orlando is stepping up, encouraging its members to donate blood. The Buffalo chapter plans to hold a vigil Tuesday evening in Niagara Falls as a time to pray, stand in solidarity as brothers and sisters, and stop senseless violence.
"Black or white, straight or gay, or Jew, Christian, Muslim, or atheist - doesn't matter. Dealings with another fellow human being have nothing to do with anything other than fairness and justice. Be just, be good, and treat others like your own,” said Kahn.