Activists present ‘letters of support’ to New Mexico mosque

Imam Shafi Abdul Aziz, left, of the the Islamic Center of New Mexico in Albuquerque, speaks on the importance of tolerance during afternoon prayer Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. A coalition of Christian and Jewish leaders presented the Albuquerque mosque dozens of "letters of support" after GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump suggested the U.S. place a moratorium on Muslim immigration. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
Imam Shafi Abdul Aziz, left, of the the Islamic Center of New Mexico in Albuquerque, speaks on the importance of tolerance during afternoon prayer Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. A coalition of Christian and Jewish leaders presented the Albuquerque mosque dozens of "letters of support" after GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump suggested the U.S. place a moratorium on Muslim immigration. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A coalition of Christian and Jewish leaders presented an Albuquerque mosque on Friday dozens of “letters of support” after remarks by GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Activists from the Blessed Oscar Romero Catholic Community and the Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice gave the letters to the Islamic Center of New Mexico and said they were a gesture of solidarity with New Mexico Muslims.

“When Trump made those comments, most of us said we had to do something,” said the Rev. Francis Quintana, who helped lead the letter-writing campaign. “That’s not who we are as Americans.”

Advocates wrote the letters after Trump called for a moratorium on Muslim immigrants coming into the U.S. and suggested that the federal government put mosques under surveillance.

Imam Shafi Abdul Aziz said the letters from supporters of different faiths were heartfelt and thanked advocates for thinking of New Mexico Muslims. “We always encourage dialogue, and we are happy that you are reaching out to us,” Aziz said.

During his afternoon prayer sermon, Aziz said true followers of Islam respect human life and people of different faiths. In addition, he said it was up to Muslims to speak out against anyone who participates in terrorist attacks.

Aziz also denounced Trump for his remarks, which he said only encourage more Islamophobia.

“(Trump) doesn’t represent America. He doesn’t represent God,” Aziz said. “He doesn’t represent peace and love.”

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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